Differential Response

The Differential Response program is a partnership between the Family Resource Center and the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS). Differential Response (DR) procedures are used when screened in reports alleging child abuse or neglect are reviewed by staff at the child welfare agency and a determination has been made that the family is likely to benefit from an assessment approach instead of the traditional investigative approach. Reports assigned to a DR program are limited to Priority 3 reports which include the following categories: educational neglect, environmental neglect, physical neglect, medical neglect, and improper supervision.

A referred family is given the choice to work with the Differential Response program in assessing the home and family situation and accessing valuable community resources to address any needs the family may have. Family advocates meet with all members of the household in an attempt to determine which resources would best alleviate the conditions that resulted in the report to Child Protective Services. Through a series of home visits, school visits, and contact with the family, family advocates become acquainted with families and their unique situations. The family continues to meet with the family advocate until the household's basic needs are met, and the family returns to a level of stability. Referrals are provided to such services as food, medical care, child care, housing, and employment.


Participants are referred by the Division of Child and Family Services.