Naomi Goldstein, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning, Research, and Evaluation
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) fosters health and well-being through the compassionate and effective delivery of human services. The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation helps make that possible by studying ACF programs and populations served in order to support ACF’s continual improvement towards our mission.
Guided by the principles of ACF’s evaluation policy — rigor, relevance, transparency, independence, and ethics — we sponsored 87 research publications this year. This work spanned topics from child welfare, childcare, home visiting, Head Start, and Early Head Start, to strengthening families, healthy marriage, responsible fatherhood, teen pregnancy prevention, youth development, welfare and employment, and self-sufficiency. Some examples include:
- A video Visit disclaimer page highlighting research on using behavioral science insights to increase child support collections in Cuyahoga County, OH
- A report that maps out similarities and differences among executive function skills for children ages three to six
- A review of the key concepts for understanding self-regulation and toxic stress
- A report on the implementation and early impacts of two approaches to subsidized employment for TANF recipients in Los Angeles County
We also brought together experts and professionals across the human services field with our bi-annual conferences — the Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-sufficiency Visit disclaimer page (RECS) and the National Research Conference on Early Childhood Visit disclaimer page (NRCEC). At RECS over 700 participants discussed cutting-edge research on family self-sufficiency and related programs and policies. Nearly 1200 participants at the NRCEC explored the latest research on increasing access to high quality early care and education.
This year we also created a new Division of Data and Improvement. The division’s focus is the improvement of the quality, usefulness, sharing, and analysis of data to promote positive outcomes for the children, adults, and families that ACF serves. The division will bolster our efforts to strengthen ACF as a learning organization.
This year saw us continue and expand our work to strengthen the use of evidence to improve ACF programs. We look forward to furthering those achievements in the year to come.