Building Capacity to Evaluate Child Welfare Community Collaborations to Strengthen and Preserve Families 2018 - 2023

Project Overview

Project Overview

This project will support the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in its work to advance the evidence around collaborative approaches to preventing child abuse and neglect. In 2018, the Children’s Bureau funded grants to states, communities, and Tribes to develop, implement, and evaluate proactive strategies that build on the strengths of families, including those at high risk for child maltreatment. The initiative supports community-level mobilization around the development of multi-system collaboratives that provide a continuum of activities and services designed to prevent child abuse and neglect. The four grantees are: the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (NE); the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH); the El Paso Center for Children, Inc. (TX); and the Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc. (AK).

The Building Capacity to Evaluate Child Welfare Community Collaborations to Strengthen and Preserve Families (CWCC) project will support the Children’s Bureau effort through two primary components:

  1. Evaluation-related technical assistance to strengthen evaluation capacity in the four grantees to conduct site-specific outcome evaluations.
  2. A cross-site process evaluation to better understand how communities came together to develop and implement integrated approaches to preventing child maltreatment, including documenting project and organizational leadership approaches, integration and alignment strategies, and recruitment and assessment methods to identify and serve at-risk families.

Project Activities

Specific technical assistance activities to support the Community Collaboration cooperative agreements include:

  • Guide grantees and their evaluators through the design of high quality, rigorous, and informative process and outcome evaluations, including finalizing project theory of change and developing research questions, methodologies, adoption of valid and reliable process and outcome measures, data privacy and security strategies, and evaluation timelines.
  • Support the implementation of grantee-designed evaluations, analyze evaluation data, and disseminate findings in a way to help generate evidence around strategies that can be adapted by other communities to reduce new referrals to public child welfare agencies; reduce unnecessary removals of children from their homes; reduce entry into foster care; and improve cross-system, primary prevention of child abuse and neglect.
  • Grow sustainable grantee evaluation capacity and build cultures of data use in project and organizational decision-making processes.

Specific activities related to cross-site evaluation include:

  • Design a flexible and feasible cross-site process evaluation that captures unique site specific project development, while also comparing and contrasting grant design and implementation to identify strategies for future study and exploration.
  • Collect qualitative and quantitative data to document how child maltreatment prevention community partnerships are developed and executed; how systems are adapted and realigned to ensure families at risk of being referred to child protective services agencies for abuse and neglect allegations are identified and linked to prevention services; how information is shared across the collaborating partners; and how the four communities develop cultures of data use and sharing to measure progress toward prevention of child abuse and neglect.
  • Disseminate evaluation findings so other communities developing primary prevention of child maltreatment strategies can build from and leverage design and implementation lessons learned.

The project team is led by Abt Associates in partnership with Child Trends and consultant Sharon McGroder.

The points of contact are Mary Mueggenborg and Laura Hoard.