The following resources explore how to use data and evaluation findings effectively to strengthen child welfare programs and improve outcomes for children and families. Resources include State and local examples.
Child Welfare Evidence-Building Academy: A Training on Rigorous Evaluation Design and Implementation
Urban Institute & Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (2021)
Trains participants to design, conduct, and assess the efficacy of child welfare evaluations. This resource includes 15 modules to guide child welfare professionals through the process of choosing a method of evaluation to match the target population and implementing experiments to answer specific questions about child welfare casework practice.
Fostering Court Improvement
American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, National Child Welfare Resource Center on
Legal and Judicial Issues, & Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic (2020)
Assists States with opening new, collaborative dialogs with all stakeholders in their child welfare systems through the use of data and data analysis.
From Theory to Practice: Exploring Long-Term Evaluation Outcomes by Linking to Administrative Data, 2019–2022
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (2020)
Describes a project intended to expand the use of administrative data in analyzing long-term program outcomes that will include the creation of a guide to assist researchers in linking program evaluation data to administrative data.
Guide to Data-Driven Decision Making
James Bell Associates, Inc. (2018)
Explains data-driven decision-making in child welfare, including an overview of how to make decisions based on data; information on how to formulate key questions; a discussion of collecting and analyzing data; and tips on communicating results.
Use of Research Evidence: Building Two-Way Streets [Video]
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau
Presents a video, featuring Dr. Vivian Tseng, on how research and evaluation can improve child welfare practice. Dr. Tseng urges researchers and evaluators to think differently about the ways that research is used and how to close the gap between research and practice.
Using Data to Understand Your Program
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (2019)
Explores how using data can lead to program improvement and looks at examples of different types of data from various sources, including impact evaluations. The resource presents an infographic to show examples of how data from different sources can be used to gain insights and improve programs.
Using Rapid-Cycle Evaluation to Inform Policy Decision Making
Baumgartner & Eddins (2020)
Shows how a program improvement approach called rapid-cycle evaluation can provide leaders with evidence about what works to improve services. Using this approach, program managers can use data they are already collecting to generate evidence that informs service delivery.
State and local examples
Evaluation of Ohio's IV-E Waiver Demonstration
Human Services Research Institute (2020)
Explains an evaluation of Protect OHIO funding strategies to improve child safety, permanence, and well-being in Ohio. Recent evaluation results show success in using family team meetings to place children with kin.
Evaluation of the Improving Outcomes for Children Transformation in the Child Welfare System in Philadelphia (PDF - 2,820 KB)
Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (2017)
Summarizes the results of an evaluation in Philadelphia that examined an effort to improve the child welfare system, the extent to which children and youth remained in their homes or achieved timely permanency, and how family functioning was improved.
Evaluation of the Indiana Department of Child Services
Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (2018)
Presents the results of an evaluation of the Indiana Department of Child Services that specifically examined the performance of the child welfare functions of the agency, identified strengths and challenges, and offered recommendations for improvements where needed.
Formative Evaluation of Family Finding: Final Report
Malm, Williams, & Rosinsky (2016)
Reviews findings from an evaluation of enhancements made by the Children's Home Society of North Carolina to the Family Finding program. The resource outlines the evaluation design and presents key findings as well as recommendations for change.
Lessons From the Field: Using Continuous Quality Improvement to Refine Interventions for Youth at Risk of Homelessness
Davis & Packard (2020)
Describes Youth At-Risk of Homelessness, a project in Alameda County, California, and Colorado that is working to build evidence on what works to prevent homelessness among youth who have been involved with the child welfare system. The report also describes how continuous quality improvement was used to learn from the initial implementation of the model interventions and refine them.
Strong Families New York City Final Evaluation Report
Chapin Hall (2019)
Presents an evaluation of an intervention in New York City, Strong Families, that examined the implementation of the program and the outcomes from the intervention. The report also discusses the evaluation framework used.