Supporting Evidence Building in Child Welfare, 2016 - 2025

In 2016, OPRE awarded a contract to the Urban Institute, with partners Child Trends, Chapin Hall, and the University of Chicago, to support the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in increasing the number of evidence-supported interventions for the child welfare population by conducting rigorous evaluations and supporting the field in moving toward rigorous evaluations.

Key project tasks include:

  1. Identification of priority areas and interventions ripe for moving to the next level of evidence;
  2. Review of existing evidence and feasibility issues;
  3. Rigorous impact evaluations of interventions; and
  4. Consultation around complex evaluation designs or statistical methods relevant for testing interventions in one or more sites.

The results of the evaluations will be disseminated to meet the needs of ACF, policy makers, practitioners, and other key stakeholders. They will also be published in peer-reviewed journals, for inclusion in appropriate evidence reviews.

One evaluation is examining the implementation and effectiveness of the Family Unification Program (FUP). FUP is a program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that provides vouchers to families for whom the lack of adequate housing is a primary factor in (a) the imminent placement of the family’s child, or children, in out-of-home care or (b) the delay in the discharge of the child, or children, to the family from out-of-home-care. The program aims to prevent children’s placement in out-of-home care, promote family reunification for children placed in out-of-home care, and decrease new reports of abuse and neglect. The goal of the evaluation is to determine whether FUP increased family preservation and reunification for families receiving vouchers and associated services, document how the program is implemented across the sites, and identify how the variations in implementation across sites might explain impact differences across sites. The impact evaluation consists of a randomized controlled trial being conducted across seven sites: Bucks County, PA; King County/Seattle, WA; Orange County, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Chicago, IL; Oakland, CA; and Santa Clara County, CA. The project is also collecting detailed information regarding program implementation at all sites.

Additional evaluations will examine the implementation and effectiveness of a variety programs that are relevant to the child welfare population.  

Point(s) of contact: Kathleen Dwyer and Alysia Blandon

The evaluation of the Family Unification Program is registered on the American Economic Association’s registry for randomized controlled trials under the title Evaluation of the Family Unification Program Visit disclaimer page .

Information collections related to the evaluation of the Family Unification Program have been reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs under OMB #0970-0514. Related materials are available at the Evaluation of the Family Unification Program (FUP) Visit disclaimer page page on RegInfo.gov.

The most currently approved documents are accessible by clicking on the ICR Ref. No. with the most recent conclusion date. To access the information collections (E.g. interviews, surveys, protocols), click on View Information Collection (IC) List. Click on View Supporting Statement and Other Documents to access other supplementary documents.

Related Resources

The Supporting Evidence Building in Child Welfare Project, funded by the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in partnership with the Children’s Bureau, conducts rigorous evaluations of interventions for the child welfare population. The project...

OPRE has awarded a five-year contract to the Urban Institute to support the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in increasing the number of evidence-supported interventions for the child welfare population by conducting rigorous evaluations and supporting the field in moving toward rigorous evaluations...