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September 2008Vol. 9, No. 7Evaluating Child Welfare Training in Public Agencies

A national study of public child welfare agencies examined how agencies conduct training and use evaluation data to improve training outcomes. Interviews were conducted with representatives from 48 States and counties. Questions focused on such topics as the State's experience with federally funded child welfare training projects, successes and challenges of providing training, administrative supports, plans for future training, and training evaluation.

The study found substantial variation among agencies conducting training evaluations and using evaluation data. In most cases, there were no standard procedures to evaluate effectiveness or organizational supports beyond the initial training session. In addition, available evaluation data were not always applied uniformly and with the same results. The study notes that the Child and Family Services Reviews have prompted States to increase data collection efforts on training outcomes. Overall results point to the need for an effective and uniform assessment of child welfare training to promote sustained change in practice that results in improved organizational outcomes.

"Evaluating Child Welfare Training in Public Agencies: Status and Prospects," by Mary Elizabeth Collins, appears in Evaluation and Program Planning, Volume 31(3), and is available for purchase online: