Department of Health and Family Services
Division of Children and Family Services
DCFS Memo Series 2001-04 ACTION
March 28, 2001


To: Area Administrators/Assistant Area Administrators
Bureau Directors
County Child Protective Services Supervisors
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: Susan N. Dreyfus

Document Summary

Effective immediately, completed CFS-40 forms are to be submitted to the Department within 10 working days of completion of the investigation assessment. CFS-40 forms on reports of alleged child maltreatment received by the agency in December of any year must be submitted to the Department no later than March 15 of the following year. 

Section 48.981(3)(c) 8., Stats., states the following: "Using the format prescribed by the department, each county department shall provide the department with information about each report that the county department receives or that is received by a licensed child welfare agency that is under contract with the county department and about each investigation that the county department or licensed child welfare agency under contract with the county department conducts."  The Department is required to use this information to annually prepare a report for the Governor and the Legislature. (Ref. s. 48.981(9), Stats.)

The format prescribed by the Department is the CFS-40 form, titled "Child Abuse and Neglect Investigation Report."  Data from these forms is also submitted to the federal Department of Health and Human Services in the spring of each year, giving statistics for the state for the previous year. Timely and accurate completion and submission of the CFS-40 is critical in order to meet federal reporting requirements and generate state level information regarding child abuse and neglect. In addition to presenting information on child abuse and neglect to state and federal agencies, it will now be used to help determine whether the child welfare outcomes mandated by the federal government through the Adoption and Safe Families Act have been achieved in Wisconsin.

The Child Protective Service Investigation Standards requires that the CFS-40 be completed as part of the investigation assessment. Supervisory review and approval of the information submitted on the CFS-40 is also required. A purpose of the supervisory review is to assure accuracy, as CFS-40 forms with errors cannot be entered into the data system and are returned to the county agency or the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare to be corrected and resubmitted.

In recent years, these CFS-40 forms have been submitted to the Department on a batch basis at various periods during the year. This has made the editing and data entry procedures difficult and time consuming and has negatively affected data quality and accuracy. Effective immediately, CFS-40 forms must be submitted to the Department within 10 working days of completion of the investigation assessment.

For child maltreatment reports that are received by the agency in December of any year, CFS-40 forms will be accepted up until March 15 (or the next business day) of the following year. For the year 2001 only, CFS-40 forms from data year 2000 will be accepted up until April 13, 2001. Any CFS 40 forms returned to the agency for correction or addition of missing information must be completed and returned to the Department within 10 working days from the date they were returned to the agency.

Unless a CFS-40 form is returned to an agency for correction, the Department will ensure that data from the completed CFS-40 forms are entered into the system within one month of the receipt of the form. The Department will issue quarterly summary reports to each agency presenting the number of reports by type of maltreatment and case finding. Irregularities in the data and or discrepancies between local and state data should be identified and resolved at each point.

These deadlines are necessary in order to meet our statutory requirement to submit a report to the Governor and Legislature, to meet federal reporting deadlines and to support the ability of both the county agencies and the Department to evaluate data associated with federal outcome measures.

Area Administrator
Child Protective Services Specialist
1 West Wilson Street
P.O. Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916
Phone: (608) 267-7732
Fax: (608) 264-6750


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