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Structured Decision Making (SDM)

Structured Decision Making (SDM) is a comprehensive case management system for Child Protective Services (CPS). CPS workers employ objective assessment procedures at major case decision points from intake to reunification to improve child welfare decision-making. SDM targets agency services to children and families at high risk of maltreatment and helps ensure that service plans reflect the strengths and needs of families. When effectively implemented, it increases the consistency and validity of case decisions, reduces subsequent child maltreatment, and expedites permanency. The assessments from the model also provide data that help agency managers monitor, plan, and evaluate service delivery operations.

Accepted to the Portfolio: April 2015

This is an evidence-based program!  Learn more

Target Outcomes

Short Term Outcomes

  • Children and families feel supported
  • Service plans accurately reflect the needs of children and families
  • Case decisions are consistent and valid

Long Term Outcomes

  • Reduce subsequent maltreatment
  • Reduce time to permanency

Target Population


  • Early Childhood (0 - 5)
  • Kindergarten¬† - 12th Grade
  • Transitional Age Youth (16 - 24)
  • Adult (25 - 60)

Service Area


  • Southeast (District 1)
  • Southwest (District 2)
  • Central (District 3)
  • Northeast (District 4)
  • Northwest (District 5)