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March 2014Vol. 15, No. 3Child Welfare Research and Evaluation Workgroups

In the February issue of Children's Bureau Express, the Children's Bureau introduced the Child Welfare Research and Evaluation Workgroups, three groups of national child welfare experts that were convened by the Bureau after the 2011 National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit. Each workgroup examined a particular evaluation topic with the goal of improving child welfare research and evaluation and strengthening the link between research and practice. In February, publications from two of the three workgroups were released. These documents are being made available on the Children's Bureau website.

Calculating Costs Workgroup

Motivated by a growing need for accurate and comparable information about child welfare program costs and by the lack of a standard methodology for calculating costs across projects, the Bureau brought together researchers, evaluators, and child welfare agency financial officers. The result of their collaboration is a guide that demonstrates how cost analysis, when integrated with program evaluation, can promote a better understanding of key program components, implementation, and unit costs. The guide is relevant for multiple audiences, including program directors and evaluators, child welfare agency administrators, funders of research studies and evaluation projects, and other important stakeholders who rely on child welfare evaluation. To learn more about the workgroup and its recommendations check out the workgroup's publication.

Cost Analysis in Program Evaluation: A Guide for Child Welfare Researchers and Service Providers is available here:

Tribal Evaluation Workgroup

American Indian and Alaska Native communities face unique challenges when participating in program evaluation. Historically, Tribes have experienced intrusive research and judgmental evaluations that have caused many of them great harm. Often, evaluators do not understand the fear that persists due to this history, and they may fail to respect Native cultural traditions, worldviews, and values. The Children's Bureau formed the Tribal Evaluation Workgroup to develop a product that might improve evaluation with Tribal communities. Together, workgroup members created a shared vision for the future of Tribal child welfare evaluation and a guide for developing culturally and scientifically rigorous evaluation. The product identifies values and priorities that can foster trust and build the knowledge and skills of Tribes, their evaluation partners, and other stakeholders to conduct more useful and meaningful evaluations. The workgroup's roadmap also is available for download.

A Roadmap for Collaborative and Effective Evaluation in Tribal Communities is available here:

Be on the lookout for the workgroup's third product and two videos that complement the cost analysis guide, which will be released in the coming weeks.