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R3 Report Issue 27: New and Revised Standards for Child Welfare Agencies

Effective Sept. 13, 2020, 74 new elements of performance (EPs) and 12 revised EPs will be applicable to Joint Commission-accredited child welfare agencies. These new and revised requirements are designed to improve the quality and safety of care provided to individuals served and their families in settings/domains such as adoption, family preservation, foster care, kinship care, and child protective services. The Joint Commission currently accredits nearly 200 child welfare organizations that provide child welfare and human services. Many of these organizations provide these services in addition to programs such as children’s residential centers and group homes. These standard additions and revisions incorporate the latest research, best practices, and federal regulations with the primary goal of improving quality and safety in these settings.

The Joint Commission evaluated expert literature to determine what areas of a child welfare program held the most potential to impact key quality and safety issues. The literature review revealed that intake, assessment, reunification, trauma-informed care, and case closing were all areas that could improve quality and safety. This approach was supported by a technical advisory panel assembled by The Joint Commission, resulting in the development of EPs that focus on these areas.

Engagement with stakeholders, customers, and experts

In addition to an extensive literature review, public field review, and pilot surveys, The Joint Commission obtained expert guidance from the following groups:

  • Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) of subject matter experts from various health care and academic organizations and professional associations from the child welfare field.
  • Standards Review Panel (SRP) comprised of clinicians and administrators who provided a “boots on the ground” point of view and insights into the practical application of the proposed standards.

The prepublication version of the child welfare standards will be available online until Sept. 12, 2020. After Sept. 13, 2020, please access the new requirements in the E-dition® or standards manual.

Download R3 for Child Welfare Agencies