Under the federal Fostering Connections Act, Texas recently began providing financial assistance to relatives when they became legal guardians of children who have been abused or neglected, cannot return home, or be adopted. This paper explores whether these payments have increased overall permanent placements with relatives or have only led relatives to shift from adoption to legal guardianship, thereby increasing permanency through legal guardianships, but potentially decreasing adoptions. Early evidence suggests that while there have been increases in both overall permanency and relative guardianship, the proportion of children being adopted by a relative has declined. Link to pdf Evaluation
When nonprofit agencies, counties, and States embark on implementation of a practice model, it is important to plan the evaluation of its effectiveness right from the beginning. Indeed, one of the first objectives for the team should be a decision about the evaluation design. It is imperative that the organization choose the most rigorous evaluation design that it can accommodate. This brief article describes a few rigorous evaluation designs that could be or have been utilized in assessing child welfare practice models. Link to Article
This tip sheet focuses on long term, post-program youth and family functional outcome measures. A key question is whether residential services achieve long-lasting success. While there are many anecdotes about the profound changes that occur for youth served in residential programs, these personal stories are not sufficient to demonstrate the programmatic or systemic effectiveness of service efforts. Outcome measurement is essential to document how a program is achieving long term results. Link to Tip Sheet
Alcohol and other drug abuse are major problems for the children and families involved with public child welfare. Substance abuse compromises appropriate parenting practices and increases the risk of child maltreatment. It is estimated that one-half of children taken into foster care in Illinois are removed from families with serious drug problems. Because substance abuse delays reunification, children removed from such families tend to remain in care for significantly longer periods of time. Since 2000, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has been engaged in developing, implementing and modifying a coaching intervention to speed up parental recovery from substance abuse and in turn improve child and family outcomes. This report serves as the independent evaluation of efforts. Link to Report
Aug, 2012; Child Trends: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Social Programs and Interventions for Children. This Fact Sheet reviews 20 parenting programs that are geared toward enhancing the parent’s development and/or educating disadvantaged and teenage mothers on effective parenting methods. Each program was evaluated in a random-assignment study. Of the 11 programs that measured child outcomes, eight programs found at least one positive impact on a child outcome area. In addition, of the 19 programs that measured parent outcomes, ten programs found at least one positive impact on parent outcomes. Link to pdf Fact Sheet.
The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health created a free resource designed to house all current, quality behavioral and social science research. Created with the help of New England Research Institutes, e-Source demonstrates how social science research applies to public health initiatives, trains future scientists, and enhances the biomedical research field.
e-Source consists of five major sections:
Setting the Scene introduces major concepts of behavioral and social science research.
Describing How discusses methodologies to explain how something could occur.
Explaining Why describes using qualitative methods to try to answer the question of why something is happening.
What Works discusses evaluation.
Emerging Issues highlights challenges in behavioral and social science research.
e-Source is available on the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research website: