This memo describes changes to the CFS-40 (Child Abuse and Neglect Data) form and accompanies new information regarding mutual sexual contact between children and a Question and Answer document designed to assist county agency staff in accurately completing the forms.
The "DCS-40 (currently referred to as CFS-40) Child Abuse and Neglect Investigation Report Instructions" were last revised in January 1996. Since that time the substantiation decision is now being used for reasons other that identifying children and families in need of services. Questions to the Bureau of Programs and Policies have indicated that it would be appropriate to create additional findings to address these concerns. As a result, changes have been made to the CFS-40 form (previously DCS-40) and instructions booklet.
Attached are replacements for pages 7, 24, 25 and 31 of the instruction booklet, as well as a newly created addendum and Question and Answer section that addresses issues regarding mutual sexual activity and the identification of a specific person as a maltreater. New instruction booklets will be mailed to you once they are completed. Changes and additions to the instruction booklet have been bolded and italicized. In March 2000, CFS-40 forms were revised to reflect the changes in codes. Please ensure that your agency is using the revised forms.
A CFS-40 form is to be submitted to the Division of Supportive Living/AO-IS Unit for every alleged child abuse and neglect report received by a county agency immediately upon completion of the investigation. Investigations are to be completed within 60 days from the agencys receipt of the report. Completion of the CFS-40 form fulfills the s. 48.981 (3)(c) 8 requirement that a county department provide this Department with information about each report it receives.
Information collected from the CFS-40 form provides the Department, counties, state legislators and the federal government with statewide data on the severity and incidence of child abuse and neglect allegations, disposition of cases, and information on workload implications for child protective services in the state.
We continue to receive a significant number of CFS-40 forms (child abuse and neglect data) containing inaccurate information. The errors have to do primarily with entering codes for cases of mutual sexual activity. Given the variability of all the factors involved in investigations and decision making this can make a difference on how to quantify information on the CFS-40 form. This has been difficult and confusing, therefore, based on input received from your staff, an addendum to the instructions booklet
has been created to provide further clarification of correct documentation on the CFS-40 form of mutual sexual activity between children. The addendum includes direction on coding cases of mutual sexual activity and concludes with some commonly asked questions and answers regarding coding. All CFS-40 forms relating to sexual abuse/contact/activity should be correctly coded according to the instructions in the booklet and the addendum. It is important that the correct codes be used. Inaccurate reporting results in extended time needed to correct the data, on both the county and state levels, and can seriously compromise data integrity and result in erroneous conclusions. This is particularly important given the reliance of the federal government on this data for use in the federal child and family services program review to be conducted in each state.
We hope that the replacement pages and the addendum will aid your staff in completing the CFS-40 form. Your staff should use these instructions and examples in conjunction with their instruction booklet and the information on the back of the CFS-40 form to assure accurate documentation. Please assure that all staff who need this booklet have access to one. It is important that supervisors carefully review each CFS-40 form before signing it.
This memo replaces prior direction given by this Department in memos from Linda Hisgen and William Fiss regarding Errors in 1998 CFS-40 Forms from March, June and November of 1999.
Example 1 (PDF 160 kb)