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We have the great privilege of working with partners who are dedicated to
using research and data to improve services to children and families.
Here are some examples of our recent projects.

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Evaluating Ohio’s Accelerated Safety Analysis Protocol (ASAP)

Funded by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), we are designing a rigorous outcome evaluation of Ohio’s ASAP in close collaboration with state and county program staff. ASAP uses data to flag cases at risk of fatality or serious injury, so that ASAP reviewers can conduct safety-focused reviews and provide real-time feedback to case workers and supervisors responsible for the case. The evaluation will explore ASAP’s impact on children served by constructing a comparison group of similar children that were not served and exploring outcomes like custody/placement, abuse or neglect related fatalities, subsequent maltreatment reports, and repeat maltreatment. The evaluation will also explore ASAP’s impact on the workforce (e.g., job satisfaction and lead indicators of worker turnover) by collecting qualitative and survey data from workers.  

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Supporting the Implementation of Ohio’s Youth Navigator Program

Funded by Kinnect under contract with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), we are part of a statewide implementation team to support the design of a new intervention for youth and young adults in the foster care system. Design for this program began January 2022 with an aim to center youth voice and preferences to co-create a program that meets the needs of young people across Ohio. Major deliverables include usability testing with young adults, co-designing program assessments, and supporting a continuous quality improvement (CQI) infrastructure. 


Evaluation of the Ohio Kinship and Adoption Navigator Program (OhioKAN)

Funded by Kinnect under contract with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), we are taking a participatory and developmental approach to helping Ohio prepare a new intervention for rigorous evaluation. Evaluation activities are being conducted in close partnership with an implementation team and statewide advisory team. Major deliverables include an evaluability assessment, community mapping, usability assessment, implementation evaluation, and a continuous quality improvement (CQI) infrastructure using human-centered design principles. We have also developed a rigorous outcome evaluation using a Type 1 hybrid effectiveness-implementation cluster randomized controlled trial to examine community, child, and family outcomes. 


Building Evidence about SAFE and Safe@Home 

Funded by ACTION for Child Protection, we are working closely with model developers to build research evidence about program models that were developed with strong theoretical foundations and practice wisdom that have been widely implemented across the United States. We are supporting the development of a standardized assessment of Caregiver Protective Capacities and Caregiver Stages of Change, and we recently completed a rigorous retrospective, quasi-experimental study examining the impact of Safe@Home on out-of-home placement and time to reunification in Clark County (Las Vegas), Nevada.

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Evaluating Kinnect to Family Ohio

Funded by Kinnect under contract with ODJFS, we are partnering with the state implementation team to develop a robust fidelity monitoring system and conduct an evaluation of implementation and outcomes across 18 counties to explore the impact of the Kinnect to Family program on placement with kin, placement stability, and permanency. Kinnect to Family, formerly known as 30 Days to Family Ohio, is a specialized, intense, family search and engagement program that uses diligent search strategies to identify a vast array of connections for children and families encountering child welfare. In partnership with ODJFS and Kinnect, we have integrated child welfare administrative data with program data to analyze outcomes, and we have assisted with the development of a database to more efficiently and accurately collect program data. 


Evaluating the Jim Casey Initiative’s Youth Leadership Institute (YLI)

Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, we recently evaluated YLI. The institute is designed to develop leadership and advocacy skills among young people with a history of placement in foster care.  Our mixed-method, multi-informant study used online surveys and qualitative interviews with young people and their mentors before training, after training, and one month following training. This study was guided by the Kirkpatrick model for training evaluation.


Evaluating Youth Centered Permanency (YCPRT) Roundtables in Ohio

Funded by Kinnect under contract with ODJFS, we are working with an implementation team and nine counties to assess the (1) reach of YCPRTs to eligible youth and (2) adherence to key YCPRT practices as part of an implementation evaluation. We are conducting a retrospective analysis of child welfare administrative data to examine differences in permanency outcomes. We are also collecting data about more proximal outcomes as part of a prospective study. Results of these analyses will be used to inform implementation strategies and intervention improvements at the state and county level.

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Reviewing Research Evidence to Support Family-Centered Reunification

Funded through the Quality Improvement Center for Family-Centered Reunification, under contract with the University of Maryland with funding from the Children’s Bureau, we conducted a scoping review of interventions that have demonstrated positive impact on family reunification from foster care. In collaboration with the University of Maryland, we identified 31 interventions with demonstrated positive impact on likelihood and timeliness of reunification or other important child welfare outcomes to produce a review of best practices and catalogue of interventions. 


Comprehensive Implementation Evaluation of Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs in Washington, DC

Funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, we partnered with Georgetown University to co-lead the evaluation of a Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) grant awarded to the District of Columbia Department of Health. Implemented models included Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), Parents as Teachers (PAT), Healthy Families America (HFA), and the Fussy Baby FAN (Facilitating Attuned iNteractions). We used the RE-AIM implementation evaluation framework to develop a comprehensive evaluation plan and led data management and analysis for implementation and effectiveness outcomes. In a related sub-study, we were one of the first evaluation teams to use Qualitative Comparative Analysis in home visiting. We used QCA in a comparative case study drawing from triangulated interviews, case notes, and administrative data to understand the causal conditions for retaining families when their home visitor resigns. 


Supporting Implementation-Informed Replication of the Wee Cuddle and Grow Model

Funded by the Kennedy Krieger Fund and Weinberg Foundation, we provided consultation in implementation science to support the implementation and evaluation of the Wee Cuddle & Grow model in Early Head Start. We partnered with model developers at PACT: Helping Children with Special Needs to develop a replication toolkit with implementation support tools to support exploration, preparation, implementation, and evaluation.  


Assessing the Evaluability of the Structured Intervention Treatment Foster Care Model

Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, we conducted an evaluability assessment of an innovative model for training and supporting relatives and other kin caregivers to provide therapeutic-level placements for children and youth in out-of-home care. We used stakeholder interviews and document review to define of the model’s theory of change. Then, we operationalized practice behaviors and identified data sources and collected available data through administrative data and case record review.


Assessing Child and Family Service Needs and Resources in Prince George’s County, Maryland

Funded by the Prince George's County Department of Families Services, we convened and facilitated a team of 15 MSW students from the University of Maryland to conduct a comprehensive needs and resources assessment of child and family services. The assessment included analyzing child well-being data, surveying youth and families, and taking inventory of all child and family services in the county. The results of the assessment were used to identify priorities and develop strategies as part of the Commission on Children, Youth, and Families strategic plan for the next three years.


Assessing Progress in a Modified Settlement Agreement after a Class Action Lawsuit

Under the direction of the Office of the Federal Court Monitor, we conducted several studies of Mississippi's progress toward meeting the requirements of its modified settlement agreement. Research methods included interviewing state and county staff, designing and managing a review of case records—with a team of over 30 reviewers, and analyzing administrative data. The studies examined (1) maltreatment in out-of-home care, (2) the provision of services to children in out-of-home care, and (3) an array of safety, permanency, and practice indicators.

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