A non-adversarial, community-based approach to CPS investigations, called alternative response, has decreased maltreatment reoccurrence, increased family satisfaction, and improved utilization by families of community resources. Alternative response should be expanded and made part of community-centered family services.

Key Points:

  • Alternative response represents a paradigmatic shift in which CPS works with parents to develop skills and connect with community resources.
  • Alternative response decreases a family’s likelihood of further CPS interaction and increases family engagement of services.
  • Current eligibility criteria are too narrow and prevent appropriate families from participating.
  • Cases screened and sent to investigations based on incorrect or incomplete data should be transferred to alternative response when appropriate.
  • Alternative response is consistent with the state’s shift to community-based care and should be the responsibility of local lead agencies.