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December 2020Vol. 21, No. 9Building Capacity in Child Welfare

Capacity-building services are an important aspect of the Children's Bureau's approach to supporting states, tribes, territories, and courts with implementing federally funded programs, meeting federal requirements and standards, and improving child welfare and court practices. But what do these services look like on the ground, and how well do they work? Funded by the Children's Bureau, a recent report, Building Capacity in Child Welfare: Findings From a Five-Year Evaluation of the Capacity Building Collaborative, presents findings from an evaluation of capacity-building services delivered by three centers funded by the Children's Bureau: the Capacity Building Center (CBC) for States, the CBC for Courts, and the CBC for Tribes. Conducted by James Bell Associates and ICF, this cross-site evaluation advances what is known about the delivery of capacity-building services to child welfare agencies and court improvement programs, especially as they engage in efforts to enhance organizational capacity and improve practice.

Beginning in 2014, the Collaborative assisted child welfare agencies and court improvement programs in states, tribes, and territories with identifying issues in their systems, developing solutions, implementing changes, and designing strategies to sustain those changes to improve child welfare and court practices. The evaluation used a variety of tools and new strategies to measure capacity-building services and their effectiveness over time. The report highlights key findings related to the following:

  • The use of capacity-building services by states and tribal child welfare agencies and court improvement programs
  • The characteristics of capacity-building services
  • Satisfaction with and the quality of CBC services
  • The perceived outcomes of CBC services
  • Collaboration among CBCs to deliver capacity-building services

The report and executive summary highlight the lessons learned about capacity-building services and evaluation. Findings document the effectiveness of capacity-building services to build organizational capacity and support implementation of change initiatives. Read the report and executive summary for more information.