Other States End Family Assessment Program

The program known as Differential Response (DR) nationally and as Family Assessment (FA) in Minnesota aims to stop maltreatment by engaging parents in a cooperative case plan.  


Researcher Kathryn Piper reports^ that, as of 2017, 9 of 30 states that implemented DR discontinued it or decided not to implement it statewide.  This was usually prompted by critical reports from agencies such as the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.  Echoing concerns we have raised about practices in Minnesota, they found that:

  • Assignment to the “low-risk” DR track was based on sparse information obtained in screening calls 

  • Risk assessments were inaccurate

  • Unsafe cases were often mis-categorized as safe

  • The lack of fact-finding protocols increased risk to children

These and related FA practices compromise child safety and should also be discontinued in Minnesota.

^Kathryn A. Piper, “Differential Response in Child Protection: How Much is Too Much”, Children and Youth Services Review 82 (2017) 69–80

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Rich Gehrman2 Comments