DCFS Info Memo 2006 - 02             January 23, 2006

Department of Health and Family Services
Division of Children and Family Services

To: Area Administrators/Assistant Area Administrators
Bureau Directors
County Departments of Community Programs Directors
County Departments of Developmental Disabilities Services Directors
County Departments of Human Services Directors
County Departments of Social Services Directors
Licensing Chiefs/Section Chiefs
Tribal Chairpersons/Human Services Facilitators
From: Burnie Bridge
Re: PEP Data Entry Requirements

 This memo identifies the essential information needed in the eWiSACWIS system for purposes of measuring child welfare program performance for the Program Enhancement Plan (PEP). The performance measurement strategies in the federally-approved PEP specify that eWiSACWIS data be used as the primary measure for national performance standards relating to child safety and permanency and selected Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) performance outcome items addressed by the PEP. Other data, including the results of local agency case reviews through the Quality Service Review (QSR) process, is also being used for PEP measurement purposes.

For purposes of federal reporting and PEP performance measurement, the eWiSACWIS system is the official record for child protective services (CPS) and out-of-home care placement information. Certain child safety and permanency data elements in eWiSACWIS are tied to federal reporting requirements for the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) and the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System (AFCARS). Other data elements used for PEP measurement are part of the basic case management features in eWiSACWIS.

The essential child safety data elements include:

  • Recurrence of maltreatment (national performance standard)

  • Maltreatment of children in out-of-home care (national performance standard)

  • Timeliness of CPS investigations (CFSR outcome item for PEP)

  • Case findings and dispositions for child maltreatment reports (NCANDS)

  • Safety factors and safety services (NCANDS)

The essential child permanency data elements include:

  • Timeliness of achieving permanency (national performance standards)

  • Re-entry to out-of-home care (national performance standard)

  • Stability of out-of-home placement (national performance standard)

  • Adoption and Safe Family Act (ASFA) documentation (CFSR outcome item for PEP)

  • Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) documentation (CFSR outcome item for PEP)

  • Placement settings and discharge reasons (AFCARS)

  • Permanency goals and permanency plan reviews (AFCARS)

Attached is a specific list of the pages in eWiSACWIS that the essential child safety and permanency data elements are drawn from. Timely and accurate completion of these pages is critical to meet federal reporting requirements and effectively measure Wisconsin child welfare program performance for the PEP. Some key factors affecting data quality for local agencies include completion of required pages for each service episode, updating pages as case circumstances change, timely approvals of casework by supervisors, and accurate entry of service ending, placement discharge and case closure reasons.

Incomplete data entry and delays in approving casework can result in federal reporting errors and distort program performance and put Wisconsin at greater risk of federal financial penalties.

Information from eWiSACWIS is also being used as a secondary measure for selected CFSR outcome items in the PEP, including family assessment, case planning and the well being of children. DCFS recognizes that local agencies vary in the use of some features of eWiSACWIS, so QSR case review results will be used as the primary PEP measure for these items, supplemented by eWiSACWIS data where practical.

DCFS has developed eWiSACWIS reports for the full range of PEP performance items that are available to local agencies through eWReports. The reports show summary information for individual counties and all-county comparisons. DCFS has also developed a Reports Dashboard that shows the national performance standards (Federal Outcome Reports) for individual counties and all-county comparisons in an easy-to-read graphical format that allows the information to be sorted in several ways. The most important PEP reports will be added to the Reports Dashboard as resources permit. All PEP and Federal Outcome reports include Excel worksheets that list the cases included in a performance measure for the specific report period. Agencies can use the Excel worksheets to determine the impact of specific cases on agency performance.

Additional information about the PEP reports, Federal Outcome reports and Reports Dashboard is available on the eWiSACWIS knowledge web:


Technical assistance to local agencies to utilize the performance reports and address data quality issues is available through the eWiSACWIS Help Desk for counties and Area Administrative staff. Questions about report design should be addressed to the DCFS central office.

Central Office Contact: John Tuohy
DCFS - Office of Program Evaluation and Planning
1 W. Wilson Street, Room 550
Madison, WI 53708
Phone (608) 267-3832
Email tuohyjo@dhfs.state.wi.us 
Regional Office Contact:  Area Administrator
eWiSACWIS Contact:  Help Desk

Safety and Permanency Data Elements  (pdf, 15 kb) 

The Department of Children and Families, protecting children, strengthening families, building communities.