Family Assessment Form (FAF)

Assessment Rating:
B – Psychometrics Demonstrated
See entire scale

Children's Bureau of Southern California

Description / Purpose:

The Family Assessment Form (FAF)  assesses family functioning from an ecological perspective, assessing context as well as transactions among family members and their environment. 

Family Assessment Form (FAF) Web software is a case management platform designed to support best-practice service planning, program improvement, evaluation and reporting specifically for family strengthening and home visitation programs. 

Family functioning is assessed via 58 scales organized into 8 categories: 

• Caregiver History 
• Caregiver Personal Characteristics 
• Living Condition 
• Financial Conditions 
• Support to Caregivers 
• Caregiver/Child Interactions 
• Developmental Stimulation 
• Interactions Between Caregivers. 

Behavioral Concerns regarding children may be captured via 31 additional scales organized into 5 factors: 

• Acting Out Behaviors 
• Inner-Directed Behaviors 
• School Behavior Problem 
• Health and Development Problems 
• Temperament. 

The software also captures demographic data, contact info, contacts with clients, referrals, interventions, and child protective service involvement.

Target Population: Families of all types and sizes; FAF has been used with diverse ethnic groups, including Hispanic/Latino, African American, and Native American populations.

Time to Administer: 6-8 hours

Completed By: Practitioners

Modalities Available: Print or software-assisted versions

Scoring Information: Items on the FAF are rated on a nine-point scale. Workers are also given the option to rate at the midway point between two numbers (i.e., 2.5 is between 2 and a 3).

Languages Available: English, Spanish

Training Requirements for Intended Users: Bachelor’s level or those with little exposure to systematic assessment procedures. Clinical and technical training are recommended before using the tool.

Availability: The booklet can be ordered through the Child Welfare League of America’s website and via the FAF website. Price is dependent on agency size.

Contact Information

Company: Children's Bureau of Southern California
Name: Kaya Okuniewski
Title: Social Enterprise Manager
Phone: (213) 342-0145

Summary of Relevant Psychometric Research

This tool has received the Measurement Tools Rating of "B – Psychometrics Demonstrated" based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The tool must have 1 published, peer-reviewed study that has established the measure’s psychometrics (e.g., reliability and validity, sensitivity and specificity, etc.). Please see the Measurement Tools Rating Scale for more information.

Show relevant research...

McCroskey, J., Nishimoto, R., & Subramanian, K. (1991). Assessment in family support programs: Initial reliability and validity testing of the Family Assessment Form. Child Welfare, 70, 19-33.


Participants — 70 families in the Family Connection Project of the Children's Bureau of Southern California.

Race/Ethnicity — Mothers: 50% White, 38.2% Hispanic, 10.3% Black, 1.5% Pacific Islander. Fathers: 47.1% White, 41.2% Hispanic,


This study looked at the internal reliability of the items intended to measure each area assessed by the FAF. Results showed that items within each subscale showed high correlations with each other. An exception was items assessing the personal characteristics of the second caregiver, typically the father. The authors note that this finding was due to a large amount of missing data for families in this area. This study is limited to internal reliability only and did not assess the validity of the FAF.

Meezan, W., & McCroskey, J. (1996, Winter). Improving family functioning through family preservation services: Results of the Los Angeles Experiment. Family Preservation Journal, 9-29.


Participants — 240 families.

Race/Ethnicity — 48% Latino, 27% African American, 22% White, 3% Other


Data from this study was used to examine the construct validity of the FAF using factor analytic techniques, which suggested six primary areas that define family functioning: the family’s financial condition, its living conditions, supports available to caregivers, parent-child interactions, developmental stimulation for children, and interactions between adult caregivers.

Meezan, W., & O’Keefe, M. (1998). Multi-family group therapy: Impact on family functioning and child behavior. Families in Society, 79(1):32-44.


Participants — 81 families referred by Los Angeles DCFS

Race/Ethnicity — More than half of the sample was White, one-fifth was Latino, and one-fifth was African-American.


This article reported on the internal consistency reliability of a modified version of the FAF. Alphas ranged from .52 to .92 at Time 1, and between .78 and .90 at Time 2.

Randall, P., Kutzler, P., & Halnon, R. (2004). Administrative and standardized assessment data to measure safety, permanency, and well-being: Experience in Philadelphia. Protecting Children, 18(3), 33-40.


Participants — Data from 5,417 families

Race/Ethnicity — Not given. Families served by the Philadelphia Department of Human Services Children and Youth Division.


This article compared data from the Family Assessment Form (FAF) (completed by caseworker) and the Family Resource Scale (FRS) (completed by client), which were used to assess the child and family strengths and concerns, to determine criterion validity. On the paired items overall, worker-client scoring consistency ranges from about 71% to about 90%. The mean overall scoring consistency rate is 76.2%. Other statistical analyses on the comparison between the two measures were not reported.

Date Reviewed: February 2015 (Originally reviewed in June 2009)