Last Updated: November 2023

The purpose of the risk reassessment is to help assess whether risk has been reduced sufficiently to allow a case to be closed, or whether the risk level remains high and services should continue. This is accomplished through evaluating whether behaviors and actions of the family has changed as a result of the case plan.

The family risk reassessment combines items from the original risk assessment with additional items that evaluate a family's progress toward case plan goals.

Research has demonstrated that for the reassessment, a single index best categorizes risk for future maltreatment. Unlike the initial risk assessment, which contains separate indices for risk of neglect and risk of abuse, the risk reassessment is comprised of a single index.

Which Cases

All open cases in which all children remain in the home, or cases in which all children have been returned home and family maintenance services will be provided.


The case-carrying worker.


Prior to each Division 31-required review, which occurs at least once every six months, regardless of court hearing dates or case plan updates in addition to the following guidance, and any recommendation to close the case or continue services. To ensure that current SDM assessments are available, they should be completed:

Voluntary Cases

  • No more than 30 calendar days prior to completing each case plan.
  • No more than 30 calendar days prior to recommending case closure.

Involuntary Cases

  • No more than 65 calendar days prior to completing each case plan.
  • No more than 65 calendar days prior to recommending case closure.

All Cases Should be completed sooner if there are new circumstances or new information that would affect risk.


The risk reassessment guides the decision to keep a case open or close a case.

Risk-Based Case Open/Close Guide
Risk LevelRecommendation
LowClose, if there are no unresolved safety threats
ModerateClose, if there are no unresolved safety threats
HighCase remains open
Very HighCase remains open

For cases that remain open following reassessment, the NEW risk level guides minimum contact standards that will be in effect until the next reassessment is completed. Use the contact frequency guidelines in Section VI of this manual.

Appropriate Completion
Scoring Individual Items

Workers should familiarize themselves with the items that are included on the risk reassessment and the accompanying definitions for those items. A score for each item is derived from the worker's observation of the characteristics it describes during interviews with household members (child, caregivers, and others) and collaterals; worker observations; reports and case records; or other reliable sources concerning progress in demonstrating behavioral change and meeting case plan objectives. Some characteristics are objective, such as prior child abuse/neglect history or the age of the child. Others require the worker to use discretionary judgment based on his/her assessment of the family.

Using the definitions for the risk reassessment, complete all items on the risk reassessment and consider whether any override reasons are present.

Risk items R1-R4: The first four items on the risk reassessment generally are scored the same way as the first four items on the initial risk assessment, unless new information has become available about conditions that existed at the time of the initial risk assessment. Review the initial risk assessment to determine the scores and consider all information currently available.

Risk items R5-R10. These items are scored based ONLY on observations since the most recent assessment or reassessment.

When all items are scored, total the scores to determine the scored risk level following the instructions on the form.


Consider both policy and discretionary overrides. If any are present, then determine the final risk level. If no overrides are present, then the scored and final risk level are the same.

Policy Overrides

As on the initial risk assessment, the agency has determined that there are certain conditions that are so serious that a risk level of “very high” should be assigned regardless of the risk reassessment score. The policy overrides refer to incidents or conditions that have occurred since the initial risk assessment or the last reassessment. If one or more policy override conditions exist, mark “yes” for each reason for the override and mark “very high” for the final risk level. Policy overrides require supervisory review.

Discretionary Override

A discretionary override is used by the ongoing worker whenever the worker believes that the risk score does not accurately portray the family's actual risk level. Unlike the initial risk assessment, in which the worker could only increase the risk level, the risk reassessment permits the worker to increase or decrease the risk level by one step. The reason a worker may now decrease the risk level is that after a minimum of six months, the worker has acquired significant knowledge of the family. If a discretionary override applies, mark “yes,” indicate the reason, and mark the override risk level. Discretionary overrides require supervisory approval. The worker then indicates the final risk level.


WebSDM will display the recommended response based on the risk-based case open/close guide. Enter the actual case disposition (continuing the case or closing the case). If the recommended response differs from the actual disposition, provide an explanation.

Examples of explanations include the following:

  • Continuing a low or moderate case:
    • Unresolved safety threats. Based on the SDM safety assessment, one or more safety threats could not be resolved.
  • Closing a high-risk or very high-risk case:
    • Family declined voluntary family maintenance services AND no petition. Family was informed of their high or very high risk level and was encouraged to continue voluntary family maintenance services. The family declined AND no petition will be filed. Mark this item even if family does accept any non-CPS services.
    • Family is receiving or has been connected with community services that will address priority needs and/or contributing factors. The family is already engaged in services OR the worker will assist the family in making connections to community services (worker must be certain that an appointment was made and verify follow-through). These services are directly related to the priority needs identified using the family strengths and needs assessment or other means to identify factors that contribute to risk.
Practice Considerations

Case workers should explain to the family, at the start of the service period, the structure and process for conducting the reassessment, and should link the reassessment process to the developed case plan.

Case workers should use formal and informal family engagement strategies during monthly in-person contacts or periodically scheduled family meetings to gather information about change over time, which should be documented in the case record. This aggregate information can then form the basis for scoring the formal reassessment.

Use of formal engagement strategies, such as family team meetings to conduct the formal reassessment and develop an updated case plan or engage in planning for case closure, is highly recommended.