State, Territory, and Tribal Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) Lead Agencies are increasingly asked to use, conduct, and disseminate high-quality, rigorous, and policy-relevant research on early care and education. They are also expected to use research and evidence to inform their decisions. However, lead agencies vary in their evaluation capacities. More information is needed to understand gaps and particular needs in the current research and evaluation capacity among agencies and better target support to build these capacities.
The Child Care Research and Evaluation Capacity Building Center (Center) will assess and build the research and evaluation capacities of State, Territory, and Tribal CCDF Lead Agencies. The Center will engage with stakeholders in planning activities and developing strategies. The Center will also focus on supporting individual and organizational research and evaluation capacity to create sustained change that lasts beyond the turnover of individual staff and the changing policies and priorities of federal and state policymakers.
The Center will:
- assess the research and evaluation capacity-building needs of State, Territory, and Tribal CCDF Lead Agencies through a web-based survey and focus groups;
- provide universal capacity-building resources and activities to support all CCDF Lead Agencies in conducting, understanding, consuming, and using research and evaluation for decision making (this includes facilitating agency use of state CCDF administrative data);
- facilitate cross-project collaboration between the 2019 cohort of the Child Care Policy Research Partnership grantees and disseminate their work for policy and programmatic audiences;
- provide intensive capacity-building support to selected CCDF Lead Agencies that would benefit from tailored support; and
- conduct other special activities or analyses to support research and evaluation capacity building.
In 2019, the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) awarded a contract to the Urban Institute with a subcontract to Mathematica to develop and operate the Center.