Alternative Response (AR) in Wisconsin


October 2016-September 2018

Funded through the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Alternative Response (AR) or Differential Response is being implemented by 22 Wisconsin county child welfare agencies with the aim of serving families with low-to-moderate safety concerns without launching an official investigation of maltreatment. AR is a system reform that is intended to promote family engagement by allowing child welfare workers to focus on supporting families’ safety and well-being goals without also needing to make an official disposition decision regarding maltreatment.

The ICFW team conducted a mixed-methods evaluation:

  • A process evaluation describing current county implementation efforts including a statewide CPS staff survey
  • Statewide longitudinal analysis of child safety outcomes
  • A survey of over 1,000 CPS-involved families

Taken together these three evaluation components have the potential to make novel contributions to knowledge about AR implementation and its impact on families.

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AR Publications

Janczewski, C. E., & Mersky, J. P. (2021). A brief measure of workplace environment for health and human service professionals. Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance.

Choi, C., Mersky, J. P., Janczewski, C. E., Plummer Lee, C., Davies, W. H., & Lang, A. C. (2020). Validity of an expanded assessment of adverse childhood experiences: A replication study. Children and Youth Services Review, 117, 105216.


Colleen Janczewski
Joshua Mersky
Peter Power


Wisconsin Department of Children and Families


Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Community Advocates Public Policy Institute


All Child & Family Well-Being