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

   DCFS Memo Series 2004 - 15
    July 21, 2004




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


Kitty Kocol

Document Summary 

To establish baseline performance on maltreatment recurrence for the PEP, Wisconsin must submit alternate child safety data. Counties must complete a safety data survey on selected cases that will be used with eWiSACWIS data to provide the alternate safety data. This methodology will be used for calendar years (CY) 2002, 2003 and 2004. This memo instructs county agencies on how to complete the safety data survey, to identify a contact person for the survey by August 3, 2004 and complete the survey by August 30, 2004. For counties who had implemented eWiSACWIS for the full CY, a survey is not required as data will be retrieved from eWiSACWIS by the DCFS.



As part of the Program Enhancement Plan (PEP) process, Wisconsin must establish a baseline level of performance for each of the federal performance outcomes to measure improvement during the implementation of the PEP. The baseline is determined based on the state data profile including child safety (i.e. maltreatment) and foster care information. The state data profile presents the results for the three most recent federal fiscal or calendar years of data submitted by the state to the federal government. Data sources include child safety information reported to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) and foster care information reported to the Adoption and Foster Care Assistance Reporting System (AFCARS). All states are required to provide sufficient information for the Children’s Bureau to generate the state’s data profile. For the Wisconsin PEP, information is needed for calendar year (CY) 2002 and 2003.

Wisconsin submits child safety data to NCANDS using two sources of documentation from counties. Prior to eWiSACAWIS implementation, child maltreatment information is taken from CFS-40 forms and post-implementation information is taken from initial assessments in WiSACWIS. Once a county has several months’ experience using the eWiSACWIS system, WiSACWIS data can be used to measure maltreatment recurrence. However, maltreatment data from CFS-40 forms is not child specific and therefore cannot be used to calculate the federal maltreatment recurrence measure. Since Wisconsin does not provide sufficient information in the NCANDS report to generate this measure, the state must provide alternate data using a process approved by the Children’s Bureau.

Safety Survey Background and Methodology

Wisconsin has previously received federal approval for an alternate data plan to generate the maltreatment recurrence measure through a survey approach. This approach was used in the Fall of 2002 to estimate the extent of maltreatment recurrence in Wisconsin for CY 2001 and the results were used for the state data profile for the Child and Family Service Review (CFSR) completed in August 2003. The estimate shows Wisconsin had a recurrence rate of 6.99% in CY 2001, which exceeds the federal performance standard of 6.1%. The Division will use the same methodology to derive maltreatment recurrence rates for CY 2002 and for CY 2003 in order to establish our state’s baseline performance measure for the PEP.

Based on the approved methodology, the recurrence rate for Wisconsin is based on a sample of cases where there was a substantiated or likely to occur allegation of maltreatment during the first six months of a calendar year. The sample is stratified with sample cases randomly selected for Milwaukee County, the next 10 counties with the greatest number of Substantiated or Likely to Occur case findings and the balance of state. These Substantiated or Likely to Occur cases are identified from the data reported on the CFS-40 forms or eWiSACWIS data.

For these sample cases, counties provide additional case-specific data on other maltreatment report(s) and case finding(s) for six-month periods before and after the identified maltreatment. The sample for each year will include cases where a report was Substantiated or found Likely to Occur during the first half of the year, i.e. January 1 through June 30. The total number of sample cases will be based on the total number of Substantiated and Likely to Occur allegations made during CY 2002 and 2003. Since the sample is selected randomly, not all counties will have cases drawn for the sample.

State and County Safety Survey Responsibilities

The survey is designed to take into account the WiSACWIS implementation status of each county during the period of 2002 - 2003. For most counties, the sample cases will be drawn from CFS-40 data and counties will need to review their local case files. In situations where counties implemented WiSACWIS during the year, the sample will include both CFS-40 and eWISACWIS cases and counties will need to review their local files and case histories in eWISACWIS. For those counties that used WiSACWIS for the entire calendar year of the reporting period and the six months prior to the reporting period, DCFS will complete the case analysis at the state level to the extent possible. Data collection and analysis will be done by DCFS and as such, counties will not be required to complete a survey. The attached chart presents the alternate safety data source, i.e. survey or eWiSACWIS, by county.

The case sample will be presented in an EXCEL file by county with the relevant case data, including Investigation ID, Worker ID, Report Date, Maltreatment Type, Maltreater Relationship and Child and Maltreater Demographic Information by county. Counties with cases selected will be responsible for providing the case-specific data for child abuse and neglect reports, maltreatment type, maltreater relationship, child and maltreater demographics and case findings for each case.

For cases that were derived from the eWiSACWIS documentation during a given reporting period, the Investigation ID is a truncated value comprised of the child’s Person ID and the Report ID. As such, a county may find it helpful, where possible, to use eWiSACWIS to look up case activity and can do so by using the first 6 to 7 digits in the Investigation ID to bring up the child’s record and case service history.

The survey is designed to collect additional maltreatment information both before and after the identified substantiated report date. Counties will need to review the prior six months going back into the prior calendar year and the last six months of calendar year in which the substantiated report occurred. The additional case-specific data is required only for those cases in the sample with an additional allegation that is found to be Substantiated or Likely to Occur in either of the given time periods before or after the report date indicated for the case in the sample.

County Contact Person

To facilitate timely completion of the survey and address any questions from the responsible staff within each county, counties must provide DCFS with a contact person for your county no later than August 3, 2004. Surveys including the case list will be sent to the contact person, or if DCFS does not have a contact person by the above date, surveys will be sent to the County Director.

Contact information, including Staff Name, Phone Number and e-Mail Address, can be sent via e-mail to:

Sara Utzig
DCFS/Office of Policy Evaluation and Planning


Completion of Survey

While this memo provides the necessary background information regarding this alternate safety data survey, additional written direction will be provided to counties when case lists are sent. Counties with selected cases will receive an EXCEL file to record the required case-specific data and the completed EXCEL worksheet must be returned via email to DCFS.

The Division anticipates selecting the cases by August 3, 2004 for each year subject to the survey and providing the respective case lists to county directors or contact persons by August 6, 2004. Counties will need to review their selected cases, enter the necessary up information in the EXCEL worksheet provided by DCFS and submit the completed worksheet to DCFS no later than August 30, 2004.

The county survey results will be compiled by DCFS along with information obtained directly from eWiSACWIS for Milwaukee and other counties to determine the statewide recurrence rates for 2002 and 2003. The statewide results must be submitted to the federal Children’s Bureau by October 1, 2004 for use is establishing the baseline performance for maltreatment recurrence as part of the PEP.

Thank you in advance for the time and energy your staff will be dedicating to this effort.



Area Administrator


Tun Mei Chang
DCFS/Office of Policy Evaluation & Planning
(608) 266-5572


Alternate Safety Survey Data Methodology - CY 2002 AND 2003
(PDF 19 kb)

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