The following resources address data collection tools and ways to improve the data collection process, including State and local examples.
Building Evaluation Capacity: Collecting and Using Data in Cross-Project Evaluations: Guide II (PDF - 540 KB)
Campbell & Clewell (2008)
Discusses issues related to collecting, reporting, and using data—such as data quality, confidentiality, cross-project capacity, and more.
National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education for Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent or At-Risk (2005)
In Self-Study Toolkit
Provides information on evaluating and improving data collection efforts and offers examples of data systems now in use.
Systems Issues Related to Reporting and Evaluating Caseworker Visits
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau (2008)
Offers guidance to States on how to align their information system activities effectively to support the collection and reporting of information on caseworker visits with children in foster care as mandated by the Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006.
Violence Evaluation Instruments Database
Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence
Presents a compilation of data collection tools on topics related to violence and for program evaluation purposes. Topics include assessment, evaluation, and risk assessment instruments for child abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, and child mental health.
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families With Children: Final Report
Rog, Holupka, & Patton (2007)
Discusses the activities and outcomes of a project that sought to identify opportunities and strategies to improve data and data collection efforts regarding homeless families.
Child Maltreatment Surveillance: Uniform Definitions for Public Health and Recommended Data Elements
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2008)
Provides conceptual definitions of child maltreatment, presents associated terms, and recommends data elements for voluntary use by the public health community for developing surveillance systems.
Data Collection Tips: Developing a Survey (PDF - 199 KB)
Innovation Network (2005)
Offers considerations for developing an effective survey, including how to construct survey questions and examples.
Following Youth After Out-of-Home Placement: Navigating a Data Collection Obstacle Course
Ballentine, Morris, & Farmer
Residential Treatment for Children and Youth, 29(1), 2012
Discusses the challenges experienced by 500 youth discharged from group homes and presents methods and tools for following this highly mobile population.
Fostering Court Improvement
Children and Family Resource Center, Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic, Fostering Results, & National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues
Gives States an efficient mechanism for sharing data between dependency courts and child welfare agencies so they can more effectively manage systems. The website includes information on States participating in the initiative as well as resources that encourage the use of data to improve collaboration.
A Handbook of Data Collection Tools: Companion to "A Guide to Measuring Advocacy and Policy" (PDF - 448 KB)
Reisman, Gienapp, & Stachowiak (2007)
Describes 22 data collection tools that measure core outcome areas related to social change or policy change. Areas include shifts in social norms, organizational capacity, bases of support, alliances, improved policies, and changes in impact.
Methodological Challenges in Measuring Child Maltreatment (PDF - 285 KB)
Fallon, Trocmé, Fluke, MacLaurin, Tonmyr, & Yaun
Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal, 34(1), 2010
Reviews the key measurement and definitional differences among surveillance systems used to monitor child maltreatment in North America to help researchers and policy analysts interpret data from these studies. The article may also help officials from other countries develop surveillance systems that can be adapted to their needs.
Questionnaires and Guides Available for UN Study on Violence Against Children
International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
Presents a collection of tested questionnaires and interview guides for countries to use to collect consistent data on the extent and depth of child abuse. Includes versions for parents, young adults, and children.
Using Survey Information to Provide Evaluative Citizen Feedback for Public Service Decisions
Urban Institute (2010)
Discusses using the results of public opinion polls and surveys to make policy decisions about public service delivery, and presents special challenges in conducting surveys and uses of survey-based performance indicators.
State and local examples
A Handbook for Participatory Community Assessments: Experiences From Alameda County (PDF - 4710 KB)
Alameda County Public Health Department (2004)
Includes information on choosing data collection methods and collecting data during participatory community assessments to identify assets and priorities for creating a safe and healthy environment.
Congregate Care Rightsizing and Redesign: Young Children, Voluntary Placements and a Profile of Therapeutic Group Homes (PDF - 534 KB)
Connecticut Department of Children and Families (2011)
Provides an overview of congregate care in Connecticut, describes levers of change in four practice areas, profiles younger children in care, and discusses the challenges to providing services.