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Evidence-Building Academy for Child Welfare Administrators and Evaluators

April 17, 2020
Abuse, Neglect, Adoption & Foster Care
Supporting Evidence Building in Child Welfare, 2016 - 2021 | Learn more about this project
  • Published 2020


Are you interested in evaluating a child welfare program or service? Join child welfare evaluation experts for the Evidence-Building Academy (the Academy), offered at no cost to participants. The Academy will walk participants through the steps needed to do a rigorous evaluation in real-world child welfare settings. Academy experts will also answer questions, troubleshoot, and help you create a strong evaluation plan, whether you are just starting or making adjustments to an evaluation already under way.

What will this training do for me?

The Academy aims to increase child welfare administrators and their evaluation partners’ capacity to do rigorous evaluations that provide critical information on program effectiveness and meet the design standards for child welfare clearinghouses. Participants will learn how to:

  • Match your target population with an appropriate intervention
  • Choose a rigorous evaluation design
  • Write a strong evaluation plan
  • Appropriately measure key child welfare outcomes
  • Critically assess evaluation results to guide the selection of programs that can best help children and their families

The field increasingly requires more and better evidence about what works to help children and families. This Academy will help program administrators and evaluators build this critical evidence for child welfare programs and services.

Who should attend?

All who are interested are welcome to apply. Child welfare administrators and evaluators who are currently planning or doing an evaluation may benefit the most. We encourage teams of child welfare agency staff and their evaluator partners to apply, although individuals are invited to apply as well.

When is the Academy?

The Academy starts with a webinar on June 19th, followed by a two-day in-person meeting July 21-22 in Washington, DC. A second two-day in-person meeting will be held October 21-22, with additional webinars in between (see tentative schedule below). Travel and lodging expenses for up to four members of a team will be covered for both in-person meetings. In the event that COVID-19 continues to make travel unadvisable, we will offer the Academy in an interactive remote format.

What topics will be covered?

Each two-day meeting will include time to work on your own evaluation project with support from peers and Academy experts. Tentative session topics include:

  • Introduction to Evaluation for Program Administrators
  • Key Concepts and Terminology for Evaluation
  • What Types of Evaluation Can Answer Your Research Questions?
  • Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Fundamentals for Collaborative Evaluation
  • Evaluation Design: Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
  • Implementing RCTs
  • Evaluation Design: Quasi-Experimental Designs (QEDs)
  • Defining the Study Population
  • Implementation and Fidelity
  • Measuring Outcomes
  • Designing and Conducting a Survey
  • What to Include in an Evaluation Plan
  • Writing a Strong Research Report or Journal Article
  • Writing Evaluation Findings for Non-Researcher Audiences
  • Critically Appraising Evidence about What Works in Child Welfare
  • Displaying Evidence Visually

How do I apply?

We invite you to submit the following information to Audrey Richardson at by May 15th:

  • Name and contact information
  • Anything you would like us to know about your team and an evaluation you are involved with (teams should send one email that lists all of the team members)

The applicants’ goals for participating in the Academy and the need for evaluation assistance will be considered when selecting participants. After receipt of applications, we may contact you for additional information. Application decisions will be emailed by June 16th.

Who do I contact with questions?

Please contact Audrey Richardson at with any questions about the Academy.

The Academy is hosted by 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.

Last Reviewed: April 17, 2020