Critical Incidents Information - Wisconsin Act 78

In 2009 Wisconsin Act 78 was signed. The law became effective in 2010.

What is Wisconsin Act 78?

Act 78 requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to notify the public in cases of child death, serious injury, and egregious or critical incidents due to maltreatment or suspected maltreatment. DCF must report on cases when it is suspected a child in out-of-home care died of suicide.

The Required Process

County agencies and the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services must report critical incidents to DCF within 2 working days of the agency learning about the incident.

  • The public notification is provided by DCF within 2 working days of the incident occurrence. The Child Protective Services (CPS) practice review begins at this time.
  • Within 90 days, DCF must send the 90 Day Summary of the incident to the Governor and legislative committees. A copy of this summary is also posted to the public webpage.
  • Some of the cases with prior CPS history may require additional practice assessment. The 6 Month Summary provides a performance overview with recommendations

eWiSACWIS Documentation

There are several steps of required documentation workers must make when an Act 78 report is received.

Systems Change Review

The DCF Division of Safety and Permanence (DSP) continues to carry out the review protocol for cases that qualify for a further Practice Review, using the Systems Change Review. This review protocol, which uses a trauma sensitive approach, has been well received by Wisconsin’s child welfare professionals. It has increased our understanding of ways to improve child welfare practice at the state and local levels. The review process:

  • Improves efficiency
  • Continues to increase partnership
  • Focuses on analysis of system issues

View these documents and webinars for more information about this process.