Key Takeaway

This brief gives an overview of Family Assessment Response (or differential response) and how it might impact children and families.

This brief gives an overview of Family Assessment Response (or differential response) and how it might impact children and families. Differential response builds upon the existing practices of CPS by adding a third response pathway (and sometimes even a fourth) between no-investigation and investigation. Traditionally, the middle pathways are non-investigatory and are designed to bolster family strengths, provide services as necessary, and reduce the likelihood of re-referral. Differential response allows CPS workers to consider factors such as the type, severity, and frequency of the reported abuse and the age of the child. The willingness and ability of the parent to participate in services such as parenting classes, counseling, or drug treatment are also taken into consideration.