Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol

Note: Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) was not responsive to the CEBC’s request for information about their program. The following information was obtained from publicly available sources (websites, articles, etc.).

Scientific Rating:
Promising Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5

Relevance to Child Welfare Rating:
See scale of 1-3

Child Welfare Outcomes: Permanency

Brief Description:

Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) has been rated by the CEBC in the area of Child Welfare Initiatives. CERAP is a protocol designed to provide workers with a mechanism to quickly assess the potential for moderate to severe harm to children in the near future. Workers use the protocol to help focus their decision making to determine whether the child is in unsafe circumstances and to decide what measures or actions should be taken to assure the safety of the child. CERAP is one that is used, by design, throughout the life of a case from intake to closure. An assessment form is required to be completed at specified points in cases of alleged abuse. The protocol provides a list of 15 risk factors, the presence of which might indicate that a child is in danger of abuse or neglect. If any factor is potentially present, caseworkers can also make note of any family strengths or mitigating factors, which would make it unlikely for the risk factor to result in abuse or neglect. In the event that the protocol results in a decision of “Unsafe,” a safety plan must be implemented or the child or children removed from the home.

Manual and Training section:
The publicly available information indicates that there is some training available for Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP), please contact Richard Calica, Juvenile Protective Association at [email protected].

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research:
Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) was given the scientific rating of “3-Promising Research Evidence” based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The practice must have at least one study utilizing some form of control (e.g., untreated group, placebo group, matched wait list) establishing the practice’s benefit over the placebo, or found it to be comparable to or better than an appropriate comparison practice. For more information, please see the Scientific Rating Scale.

Fuller, T. L., Wells, S. J., & Cotton, E. E. (2001). Predictors of maltreatment recurrence at two milestones in the life of a case. Children and Youth Services Review, 23(1), 49-78.
Type of Study: 2 separate case control design studies.
Number of participants: Study 1: 200 cases with a recurrence of maltreatment, 180 comparison cases without an occurrence of maltreatment. Study 2 (Intact families): 171 cases with a recurrence of maltreatment, 179 cases with no recurrence.
Age Range: 0-18
Race/Ethnicity: Study 1: 67.6% Caucasian, 24% African American, 5% Hispanic, 3% Other. Study 2: 55% Caucasian, 36% African American, 9% Hispanic, 1% Other.
Status (e.g., foster care, CW) Families who had been investigated for child maltreatment
Location/Institution: Illinois
Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations) Researchers randomly drew cases from the Illinois Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System, where there was a recurrence of abuse within 60 days of investigation initiation. Cases where re-abuse had not occurred were also drawn. Two samples were drawn: One from the overall database and one from a subgroup of intact families only. In Study 1, the presence of a CERAP Assessment within 24 hours of initial investigation was not a predictor of whether maltreatment reoccurred. However, in this sample, virtually all cases had a completed assessment. In the intact family sub-sample, completion of a CERAP within 5 days of assignment was associated with significantly lower odds of having maltreatment reoccur. The data suggests the effect may be related to higher rates of contact caseworkers and receipt of more services within the 60-day period. One limitation is that the data was unable to provide explanations of why a CERAP had not been completed in those cases where it was not.
Length of post-intervention follow-up: None

Fluke, J., Edwards, M., Bussey, M., Wells, S., & Johnson, W. (2001). Reducing recurrence in Child Protective Services: Impact of a targeted safety protocol. Child Maltreatment, 6(3), 207-218.
Type of Study: Pretest/Posttest using archival data
Number of participants: Unknown
Age Range: 0-17
Race/Ethnicity: Not given
Status (e.g., foster care, CW): Families involved with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Location/Institution: Illinois
Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations) Using the Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS), rates of child abuse reports were measured before and after the introduction of the Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP). The researcher examined total number of reports, allegations, substantiated reports and cases where protective custody was taken. Decreases were shown in all reports over the first two years that the program was implemented. Short-term recurrence (within 60 days), the main target of risk assessment, also showed statistically significant reduction over the first two years. Statistical analysis was done to rule out the possibility that the apparent effects of the program were due to a general decline in abuse reports or changes in policy that redefined risk among cases where children were in the care of relatives. The program was shown to have probable effects independent of those factors. However, the design of the study did not allow all possible contributing factors to the reduction in abuse reports.
Length of post-intervention follow-up: None

There are no reference articles on Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP).