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• Reviews psychometrics, strengths, and challenges of four child wellbeing measures
• Each shows evidence of reliability and validity with child welfare populations.
• High overlap suggests any of these tools can be effective in child welfare settings.
• Recommendations for successful implementation within child welfare vary by tool.
• Consider agency goals, capacities, and infrastructure to inform selection of tool
Child wellbeing is identified as one of the three primary goals for child welfare outcomes, thus strong wellbeing assessment tools are crucial to the monitoring of child welfare success. Data from wellbeing measures can serve to identify child needs, inform case planning, monitor change over time, and evaluate intervention impact at the individual, local, state, and national levels. This paper examines the goals, strengths, and challenges of four wellbeing measures currently used with child welfare populations, namely: the Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS), the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment Tool (CANS), the Child Behavior Checklist and related tools from the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (CBCL/ASEBA), and the Treatment Outcomes Package (TOP). For each measure, we describe the content, practical attributes, clinical applications, and evidence of reliability and validity. We explore implementation considerations and provide recommendations for system changes to ensure the optimal use of each instrument. Agencies are encouraged to carefully consider their needs, goals, capacities, and implementation infrastructure to inform selection of tools that will aid them in successfully supporting and monitoring child wellbeing over time.
Journal: Children and Youth Services Review - Volume 68, September 2016, Pages 1–16