Post-Reunification Support (P.S.) Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Why isn’t a child listed on the Pre-Enrollment report?

A common cause for this is the child’s Out-of-Home Care placement is pending supervisory approval.

Does a child have to have Reunification be the Primary Goal in order to appear on the Pre-Enrollment Report?

No. Both permanency goals have equal weight when looking at a child’s permanency plan. The Pre-Enrollment report now includes both Permanency goals and Concurrent goals of Reunification as well as Proposed goals and proposed Concurrent goals of Reunification; a child with Reunification in any one of these four goals OR no goals due to their current short length of time in Out-of-Home Care will appear in the report.

On the Pre-Enrollment report, is the 60 day projection from the date the report is run or from the last day of the month?

It is the number of days in Out-of-Home Care as of the last day in the range the report was run, plus 60 days. If you were to run the report for January 2014, the calculation would be January 31, 2014, plus 60 days. If the report is run on demand, you can specify any number of days to estimate the Re-entry Prevention Model (RPM) score for the planned date of reunification.

On the Pre-Enrollment report, what do the values in Documented Disability mean, and can they be changed?

Y: Yes; N: No; U: Not yet known; A: The field is null and left blank.

For this characteristic, the only one that adds any weight to the Re-entry Prevention Model (RPM) score is a documented disability of “Yes” (Y). Disability documentation may be updated or corrected once a disability has been clinically diagnosed or ruled out. Only the presence of a documented disability in this field will change the score. A child with a diagnosed disability will have a higher score (all other things being equal) than if it were not documented (U or A) or documented as a “No” (N).

Can I change caretaker status and does it affect the score?

Caretaker status at a child’s most recent removal does affect the Re-entry Prevention Model (RPM) score; it is weighted more if the child is removed from a single (male or female) caretaker. After the child is in placement the caretaker status at the time of removal cannot be corrected if the child is no longer in that initial placement. It pulls from the removal of the most recent episode, and cannot be corrected once the initial placement has occurred and the placement has been documented and approved.

For Referrals with siblings, are all siblings always also eligible?

No. If the Referral Child’s siblings are also in Out-of-Home Care and reunify with the same family at the same time or up to 60 days after the Referral Child, only then are those siblings eligible for the P.S. Program.

If a Referral Child’s sibling(s) are also going to reunify in that timeframe but the sibling’s legal status is Juvenile Justice only, are the sibling(s) still eligible?

Yes, though it is important to note that the primary Ongoing Caseworker for the Referral Child will need to be assigned as the Primary Worker to and provide case management for the family, including all siblings enrolled in the program. Practice requirements for the family case and all siblings, regardless of adjudication status, are subject to the P.S. Program requirements and the Ongoing Services Standards.

How will Reunification be defined?

Consistent with the Ongoing Services Standards, reunification is defined as reunification with either parent or to the home from which the child was removed. This definition does not include the period in which a child is placed in a trial reunification placement setting, though trial reunification is encouraged where appropriate as a step towards achieving reunification.

Will voluntary vs. court ordered status affect eligibility?

The P.S. Program is available to families who are served either voluntarily or under court order. Family participation in the P.S. Program is initiated by family participation in a Family Team Meeting. This meeting includes a discussion about the program and completion of a support agreement - which a family may or may not choose to sign. If the family chooses not to sign the agreement, the family/child is not enrolled in the program.

How often should counties review the Pre-Enrollment Report?

In 2013, 24.5% of reunifications occurred after less than a month in Out-of-Home Care. It is important for each county agency to designate a lead person to review the pre-enrollment report on a weekly basis to identify and refer eligible children prior to reunification.

The importance of this may vary based on the size of the county agency and how familiar each ongoing case worker is with the P.S. Program eligibility and referral process. Even small counties who tend to know their reunifying population well will benefit from running the report twice a month on their own, as the monthly batch report will not provide a frequent enough update to identify the children who reunify quickly. Medium and larger counties are highly encouraged to develop local policy and procedures on who runs the report and how often so they do not miss program eligible reunifications that are in care for a short period of time.

Is a functionally active 161 agreement required for enrollment of tribal children in the P.S. Program?


Re-entry Prevention Model (RPM)

What is the Re-entry Prevention Model (RPM)?

During the first years of implementing the Post-Reunification Support (P.S.) Program, there will be more reunified families than available service slots, meaning that not all reunified families will be able to participate in the program. Therefore, it will be necessary to offer services only to those families whose children are at the highest risk of re-entering Out-of-Home Care (OHC) following reunification. To determine this, the evaluation team at the University of Illinois Children and Family Research Center (CFRC) used historical data from eWiSACWIS to develop a statistical predictive model to identify which reunified children are most likely to experience a re-entry into OHC within 12 months of reunification. The RPM, will be used to determine a family’s eligibility for P.S. Program participation.

How was the RPM developed?

The research team used data from April 2012-March 2014 to determine which combination of factors were most predictive of re-entry into Out-of-Home Care(OHC) within 12 months of reunification. Children with a Juvenile Justice (JJ) case type and those children under the responsibility of Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services (DMCPS) were excluded from the RPM development, as the program currently does not serve JJ-only case types nor is it currently applicable to DMCPS cases. While a complete list of the variables considered is provided in Appendix A, a summary of the variables reviewed include the following

  • Child demographics and characteristics
  • Placement and episode characteristics, including end and begin dates, placement types, removal reasons, etc.
  • Child and parent information from the most recent approved Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessments completed prior to the child’s reunification
  • Indicators of need for concurrent planning in Permanency Plans (limited data available)
  • Historical CPS Report information
  • Historical Initial Assessment (IA) information, including most recent IA Safety Assessment Threats and Results

The University of Illinois Children and Family Research Center (CFRC) evaluators used stepwise logistical regression to analyze factors that identified children most at risk of re-entry into OHC within 12 months of reunification. It was also necessary to determine a threshold, or a “cut-off score,” that maximized the accurate predictions (the true positives and true negatives) and minimized the inaccurate predictions (the false positive and false negatives) at the estimated program enrollment capacity. Decreasing the threshold for eligibility allows more families to qualify for the program, but decreases the accuracy of the prediction.

What factors influence the RPM score?

The proposed model that best predicted re-entry for children contains five variables. The data indicates an increased risk of re-entry when

  • The child’s most recent episode did not include placement in a treatment foster home (i.e. treatment foster homes reduced the risk of re-entry)
  • The child was removed from a single caregiver home at the time of the most recent removal
  • The child had one or more prior Out-of-Home Care (OHC) episodes
  • Parent incarceration was documented as a reason for the child’s removal
  • The child has a higher number of items on their most recent Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment that indicate need areas

Each child will receive a single score which represents his or her probability of re-entry based on a weighted combination of scores on these five variables. Because one of the variables is derived from the abbr title="Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths">CANSCANS assessment is required to determine an RPM score.

The placement of a child in a treatment foster care setting will decrease the child’s RPM score.

The child’s most recent CANS strengths and needs may change over time, and the number of needs documented as a 2 or a 3 in the child’s life domain functioning will have a significant effect on the RPM score. If county refers a child and the referral is approved, but the child’s CANS indicate improvement within the 60 days prior to reunification, an approved referral will not be rescinded.

What RPM score does a child need to qualify for the P.S. Program?

If a child’s probability score is greater than or equal to 0.18, the child would qualify as eligible for the P.S. Program.This version of the RPM has an accuracy rate of 68% and roughly 35% of Wisconsin children currently in Out-of-Home-Care qualify for the P.S. Program with a score 0.18 or greater.

Change of Venue

What happens to a family who is enrolled in the P.S. Program that moves to another county?

As shown in the chart below, the answer depends on how ongoing case management and payment responsibilities will be divided between the original and receiving county, and whether the receiving county is a P.S. Program county

Scenario Response
Original county retains jurisdiction with no involvement by new county of residence Original county continues to serve case with no change in status, reporting or payment. The original county retains Primary Worker Assignment in eWiSACWIS and there is no Secondary Worker Assignment associated with the new county of residence.

Original county retains jurisdiction; receiving county performs courtesy supervision

Original county continues to serve case, and coordinates with receiving county to quantify and report their administrative case management and service costs. The original county retains Primary Worker Assignment in eWiSACWIS and the receiving county has a Secondary Worker Assignment associated with the role of courtesy supervision.
Venue of the case is transferred to a P.S. county Receiving county is encouraged to serve the case for the remainder of the 12 months with no impact to their P.S. slot allocation, and a re-obligation of the daily case rate payment to the receiving county to ensure sufficient funding. In voluntary cases, the receiving county ensures continued voluntary participation of the family in the P.S. Program must ask family if they wish to continue participating in P.S. Program. If the family agrees to continue participation, the receiving county to which venue was transferred begins the Primary Worker Assignment to the case and the original county has no worker assigned.
Venue of the case is transferred to a non-P.S. county The child’s enrollment in the P.S. Program is ended and the end date is entered into the eligible child’s Program Assignment page in eWiSACWIS. The case continues to be subject to Ongoing Services Standards in the receiving county.


Please provide more detail regarding the reinvestment requirement.

  • The State-to-County reinvestment ratio is 3:1. Specifically, for every three (3) children supported with state funding in the P.S. Program in year one, a county is required to serve one (1) child with existing funding in accordance with the P.S. Program requirements by the end of the following year
  • DCF expects counties to meet the reinvestment requirement by leveraging existing budgets and resources—counties are not expected to transfer funds to a separate P.S. Program budget.

How can funding be used?

Funding is intended to be used flexibly to support the varying needs of reunified families. Funding expectations and criteria will include those costs that meet, at a minimum, the following criteria:

Reasonable and necessary means

  • The flexible use of funding must accomplish a reasonable purpose
  • Meet a legitimate need for the child or family
  • Address child, caregiver and family goals as documented in the eWiSACWIS case plan

There are additional funding resources under the Program Fiscal Information and Cost Reporting heading on the website.

How will partial months of enrollment be calculated?

Partial months are calculated using days enrolled in the P.S. Program.


What are the eligibility requirements for P.S. Program?

Check the Pre-enrollment form in eWISACWIS. The Pre-Enrollment Report, available in eWiSACWIS as “SM08X116B - P.S. Program Pre Enrollment,” is available to all counties and provides a list of all children in Out of Home Care (OHC) who may be eligible for the P.S. Program, and a Re-entry Prevention Model (RPM) score for them.

Can a county refer a child AFTER they have reunified?

No. To be eligible for the P.S. Program, a referral needs to be received prior to reunification.

When can a referral be made to the P.S. Program?

Referrals can be made up to 60 days in advance of the planned reunification date.

What happens if the planned reunification date changes?

If there is a significant change to the planned reunification date this may impact timeframes for the program requirements, such as the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) and the family team meeting. The ability to plan for program participation with families and providers also requires retaining the approval for program eligibility even though the total number of days in care prior to reunification may vary. When referring children to participate county agencies are encouraged to consider the planned reunification date as a goal; however, case circumstances may result in variation from that date.

P.S. Program policy is designed to allow counties to lock in an Re-entry Prevention Model (RPM) score based on the planned reunification date while providing reasonable flexibility around the reunification date.

  • If the reunification occurs up to 14 days before or after the planned date, counties may use the original planned date to define the timeframes for program requirements.
  • If the reunification occurs between 15-30 days before or after the planned date, then the county must describe the reasons for the change in the reunification date to the Department of Children and Families P.S. Program Coordinator in order to retain the approval for the referral.
  • If the reunification does not occur within 30 days after the planned reunification date, then a new referral must be submitted with a new planned reunification date and a re-calculated RPM score based on the new date.

Are Juvenile Justice (JJ) youth eligible for the P.S. Program?

Yes. Please read the following guidelines

The P.S. Program is designed to serve children who are at risk of re-entry with a case type of Child Protective Services (CPS), Child Welfare (CW), or those with a combination case types which include Juvenile Justice (CPS/JJ or CW/JJ). The children in out-of-home care status who are Juvenile Justice (JJ) only case types or who are adjudicated delinquent and who will reunify with their family may also be considered for P.S. Program referral if the agency determines the child and the family would be best served as a CW/JJ case.

Prior to adding a CW case type to a JJ only case, the county must first consider the agency’s commitment to serve the family as a CW case based on the family’s needs, goals, and plan and the family’s willingness to be served as a voluntary CW family in addition to the child or youth’s JJ legal status and case type. Following the addition of a CW case type to the family case and documentation of that in eWisacwis, counties can determine the child’s Re-entry Prevention Model (RPM) score and may then refer an eligible child to the P.S. Program.

The following items provide guidance on this option

Worker Continuity

For P.S. Program cases, worker continuity is important to maintain. For those county workers who currently have a mixed case type caseload and are trained on the Ongoing Services and Safety Standards, changing the case type and referring the child to the P.S. program is a viable option. If a JJ only caseworker who is not familiar with the requirements of the standards is a assigned to the case, they may continue to work with the family as a secondary caseworker and another ongoing case management worker who is familiar with the standards and requirements of serving Child Welfare (CW) case type must be assigned as the primary worker.

Family willingness

Changing a case type from JJ only to a voluntary CW case type requires the agreement of the family/primary caregiver. County workers need to approach the family with the option to be served voluntarily by the county agency prior to changing the case type or submitting the referral to participate in the P.S. Program.

Ongoing Services Standards, Safety Standards, and P.S. Program Requirements

Changing the case type to CW adds complexity to the assessment, documentation, and practice requirements. Fulfilling these requirements is required following the case type conversion, regardless of whether or not the family is referred to and participated in the P.S. Program.

Family Engagement

CW case types require that the family unit is served as a group to address the case plan goals for all family members to function safely, to ensure the stability of a child’s reunification, and to promote the wellbeing of the family as a whole.

Can siblings be referred to the P.S. Program?

If a referred child has sibling who are also in an Out of Home Care placement and who will reunify at the same time as the referral child, or within 60 days of the referral child, then those siblings are automatically eligible to also participate in the P.S. Program. This includes siblings with existing delinquency petitions, and all siblings are eligible regardless of legal status or case type. However, if a juvenile justice only or delinquency adjudicated sibling is referred to the P.S. Program, the program requirements and Ongoing Services Standards apply to the agency’s involvement with that child.

The county agency may determine whether or not they wish to refer some or all of the siblings who reunify. If siblings will also be referred, the county may also decide whether those siblings will be state funded program participants, or local reinvestment funded participants.

When a reunifying family has three or more children who are referred, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) recommends that counties assess the needs of the family members and use that assessment to determine if one or more of the siblings would receive equal benefit if that child were a local reinvestment funded referral.

If there are multiple children referred to participate but they reunify at different times, then those children will have a different P.S. Start Date, and their program practice requirement timeframes will vary.

What if there is a trial reunification?

County agency use of trial reunification is encouraged when the agency and their court system identify families in which reunification on a trial basis is safe and feasible, and the family may benefit from a conditional reunification status while they continue to work on various needs and goals.

Up to 60 days prior to a trial reunification, or at any time during a trial reunification, a referral to the P.S. Program may occur if the agency believes the family will complete the trial reunification and the discharge to reunification will occur. If a trial reunification is utilized, an approved referral is locked in pending the completion of the trial reunification.

Trial reunification can last from 7-150 days and is a placement setting; it is not a discharge from Out of Home Care. As such, actual enrollment into the P.S. Program doesn’t begin until the successful conclusion of the trial reunification, when the full 12 months of support and funding will then follow.

What are the mechanics of enrolling a child and family?

Please see the Referral Guide for a detailed description of the referral and enrollment process.

Here is a brief description

  1. Identify children the agency plans to reunify. Talking with families about the opportunity to enroll in the P.S. Program should only occur after a referral is approved.
  2. Check the Re-entry Prevention Model (RPM) score for those children via the Pre-Enrollment Report in eWiSACWIS.
  3. Submit eligible referrals to Department of Children and Families (DCF) via the secure online server, the P.S.-HUB.

NOTE: Only county and DCF approved P.S.-HUB users are able to log in. Please ask your county’s primary program contact and the P.S. Program Coordinator about receiving access to log in.

If a brief reentry occurs, can the child stay in the P.S. Program, and if so, how brief?

If a child re-enters out-of-home care for less than 30 days, they can remain enrolled in the P.S. Program. Case closure will occur if a child is in out-of-home care for 30 days or more.

Practice requirements

What are the P.S. Program practice requirements prior to reunification?

Prior to reunification is at least 30 days prior to the expected child reunification

  • Continue implementation of safety intervention and ongoing service practice requirements associated with reassessment and plan modification (Safety and Case Plans) as warranted based on family needs, and document in eWiSACWIS
  • Complete or update, and document in eWiSACWIS, the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment for both the Child and Caregiver modules
  • Update and maintain accurate Legal Status documentation in eWiSACWIS

What are the P.S. Program Practice Requirements during the 12 month service period?

  • Continued regular caseworker contacts to assess child safety and child, caregiver and family functioning, needed changes to the family Case Plan, and continued advocacy to support the family’s connections to natural and community based supports.
  • Continued Safety Reassessment and Planning and Case Plan Reassessment and Planning per Safety Intervention and Ongoing Services Standards requirements for which any updates or changes are documented in eWiSACWIS as required by these standards;
  • Completion of the updated CANS Assessment (Child and Caregiver modules) documented in eWiSACWIS
    1. 30 days prior to expected reunification
    2. 6 Months following reunification
    3. 30 days prior to expected program closure

What are the minimum P.S. Program contact requirements?

Case Type (as documented and updated in eWiSACWIS)

Minimum P.S. Contact Requirements

In-Home CPS Cases (Court-Ordered or Voluntary)- child safety concerns present for one or more children in the family case

2 Face to Face Contacts per Month

In-Home, Court-Ordered Child Welfare (CW) Cases- no child safety concerns are present for any child in the family case, but in-home court ordered supervision is required

1 Face to Face Contact per Month

In-Home, Voluntary CW Cases- no child safety concerns are present for any child in the family case and there is no in-home court ordered supervision required

1 Face to Face Contact per Month through the first nine months of the service period; at least 1 phone contact per month, thereafter

What are the practice requirements prior to case closure?

Within 30 days of the case closure, the following casework responsibilities are carried out and completed via a formal Family Team Meeting

  • Recognize family accomplishments, strengths, and success.
  • Review family resources, including the transition to formal, informal and natural supports, and contingency planning to address potential future concerns regarding child functioning and caregiver needs.
  • Gather information to complete and document in eWiSACWIS, and a final Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS), including both the Child and Caregiver modules.

How is the Child Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment used in the P.S. Program?

Per P.S. Program practice requirements, a CANS assessment is to be completed 30 days prior to reunification for the child and the parental caregivers in order to proceed toward child enrollment in the P.S. Program.. A CANS assessment must also be completed six months after reunification, and one month prior to program completion.. The CANS assessment is used to guide assessment of critical factors affecting individual and family functioning at a point in time and to use the information collected as part of the CANS assessment to affirm the effectiveness of the family’s Case Plan and where needed, to guide changes to the family’s Case Plan.. Information documented in a child’s CANS assessment, including the child and caregiver modules, will also be used to gauge changes to the child’s, caregiver’s and family functioning during the course of the P.S. Program service period.

How does the 30 day “look back” affect how the Child Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) data will be used?

CANS captures information that pertains to a child’s or a caregiver’s history, (i.e. information that does not change), and to a child’s or caregiver’s current level of functioning, needs and/or strengths, based on a point in time, (i.e. a 30 day look back).. For the purposes of the evaluation, selected CANS indicators will be analyzed to identify trends over time related to the child’s or caregiver’s functioning.

Will Child Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) use target the child and the primary caregiver?

Yes. Both modules of the CANS, the child and the caregiver modules, are to be used to comprehensively assess child and caregiver levels of functioning and their respective needs and strengths and to support analysis and decision-making in setting case plan goals, identifying case plan service types and selecting service providers. As part of the program evaluation, this assessment of child, caregiver and family needs and strengths will be used to measure key aspects of well-being.

Can clinical supervision be purchased to support case workers?


How will the Case Plan by used in the P.S. Program?

Caseworkers are required to update the family Case Plan at a minimum of every 6 months. Additional information gathered during a caseworker’s regular contacts with family members and other key collaterals may require more frequent updates to the family’s Case Plan.

How will service verification and caseworker interface occur?

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is committed to ensuring that any data collection needed for purposes of administering the P.S. Program and the federally required evaluation of the program will be done in the most technically efficient manner and will be related only to those areas where data are required, but not available in eWiSACWIS.

How much emphases will there be on informal supports and long term planning?

Transition planning and the development of informal and community based supports is a priority throughout program participation. In accordance with the Ongoing Services Standards, assisting families to develop a safety net and a transition plan is essential for long term permanence.

Evaluation Process

What are county responsibilities regarding the evaluation and how will counties, participating families, and others be notified of local evaluation activities?

Based on a competitive procurement process, Department of Children and Families (DCF) has contracted with the Children and Family Research Center (CFRC) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to conduct and coordinate the evaluation of the P.S. Program, as required by the federal waiver demonstration terms and conditions, over the next six years. Much of the information that counties will contribute to the evaluation will come directly from the case-related documentation in eWiSACWIS, entered as part of the casework process. There will be some additional data collection to capture data elements that are not documented in eWiSACWIS, but are required as part of the evaluation. These additional data elements include verification of case plan service receipt to enrolled children and their families and case plan service cost related data. It is expected that the process used to collect this information will be done in the most efficient manner; e.g., a secure web-based survey, and limited to information that is needed for evaluation purposes.

CFRC will carry out site visits over the course of the six year evaluation. During the site visits, CFRC will conduct focus groups with workers and supervisors, and possibly other local stakeholders.

Family surveys will be mailed directly to families by CFRC. While agency staff will not have the responsibility for directly administering the survey, the success of this strategy relies on accurate addresses and contact information for families, as documented in eWiSACWIS. Workers will be asked to apprise families when the surveys are being sent to them, which will occur just after reunification and again at the end of program participation. County agencies will be fully informed regarding all aspects of program evaluation, and CFRC will partner with them to educate supervisors and workers in all aspects of the evaluation.

How many families will participate directly in the evaluation?

All families participating will receive a survey upon reunification and near the end of their participation. Families who are not enrolled in the program, but who are matched as a comparison family, will also receive a survey.

How many counties will participate directly in the evaluation?

All data counties enter on P.S. enrolled cases and regular cases will be used in the evaluation. However, not all counties will need to participate in site visits; the evaluators will select a representative sample of the participating counties over the course of the six year evaluation.

Will a statement about the evaluation be included in the support agreement?

University of Illinois Children and Family Research Center (CFRC) will prepare a brochure regarding the program evaluation for workers and families so they are informed of the expected level of involvement.

Can I view the Evaluation Report?

Yes, Interim Evaluation Report describes the process and outcome findings for the P.S. Program in the first half of the IV-E Waiver Demonstration Project. The Interim Evaluation Report was completed in May 2016.

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