Building Capacity to Improve Program Evaluation in Child Welfare

Program evaluation plays an important role in CB-funded projects and programs. A wide range of stakeholders rely on program evaluations to answer important questions about program design, capacity, collaboration, implementation, participation, service delivery, and effectiveness.

In recent years, CB has supported several efforts to improve evaluation in child welfare. The resources below have been designed to meet evaluation-related needs. Many are practical tools for directors and evaluators of CB-supported grants, but several have been created with practitioners, faculty, community members, students, and agency leadership in mind.

2019 National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit

National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit 2019 LogoJoin us on August 20-21, 2019 for the Evaluation Summit at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. The Summit is a forum for child welfare leaders, members of the research and evaluation community, and their partners and stakeholders to come together for timely and important dialogue and learning. It provides participants with an opportunity to explore the gap between research and practice and consider how they can better support three overarching goals: building evidence, strengthening practice, and informing policy. Participants will share research methods and findings, exchange tools and tips, build new skills, expand their professional networks, discuss familiar dilemmas and emerging challenges, and explore possible solutions from multiple perspectives.

The conference theme, Leveraging Data and Evaluation to Strengthen Families and Promote Well-Being, recognizes the opportunity of child welfare systems and their partners to build knowledge responsibly and use evidence to ensure that children and youth thrive in strong and heathy families.

Video Series on Data Driven Decision Making

This three-part video series provides an overview of data-driven decision making (DDDM), a systematic process for collecting and using data to inform practice and policy changes that improve an organization’s operations and outcomes. Using the example of a fictional child welfare service organization, the videos cover key DDDM concepts that include developing a theory of change, collecting and analyzing data, communicating findings, and making organizational improvements.

Webinar Series on Child Welfare Administrative Data and Program Sustainability

This webinar series from 2017 focused on the topics of using child welfare administrative data and program sustainability. The first webinar discusses strategies for mining administrative data to assess the characteristics and needs of at-risk child welfare populations. The second webinar discusses propensity score matching (PSM) as a methodologically rigorous alternative to randomized controlled trials. The third webinar reviews strategies for using evaluation findings to help sustain program and evaluation activities following the end of federal funding. The experiences of grantees funded through the federal Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII) are highlighted in each webinar.

Child Welfare Evaluation Virtual Summit Series

Child Welfare Evaluation Virtual Summit Series Logo

Developed in lieu of the 2013 Evaluation Summit, this series of 17 brief videos uses illustrations, animation, motion graphics, and content from national experts to tackle a variety of evaluation-related topics, propose solutions to common problems, and point viewers to additional tools and resources. The videos will be released on a rolling basis beginning in March 2014.

Child Welfare Research and Evaluation Workgroup Products

In 2012, CB convened three workgroups of national child welfare experts:

Child Welfare Research and Evaluation Workgroups Logo
  • Calculating the Costs of Child Welfare Services Workgroup
  • Tribal Evaluation Workgroup
  • Framework Workgroup

Each group worked for more than a year on their evaluation topics, creating practical tools to build evaluation capacity and strengthen the link between research and practice. CB congratulates the workgroup steering teams and members on their work.

National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit Materials (2011)

2011 Child Welfare Evaluation Summit Logo

The 2011 Evaluation Summit featured presentations and spirited discussions by hundreds of attendees on dozens of evaluation topics. The conference program as well as audio recordings and other materials from many of the conference sessions are available for download.

Technical Assistance Documents on Evaluation Topics

CB continues to provide evaluation-related technical assistance to projects and grantee cohorts. Evaluation briefs and other products define key concepts, describe evaluation steps, and offer practical advice to project directors and evaluators.

Last Reviewed: January 30, 2019