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November 2021Vol. 22, No. 10Evaluation Summarizes Insights From Child Safety Forward Initiative

Child Safety Forward is an initiative designed to reduce child maltreatment deaths through a community-based approach. The initiative was developed as a result of a 2016 report from the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities: Within Our Reach: A National Strategy to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

A recent report presents insights from an evaluation of Child Safety Forward's effectiveness in five sites over the course of a planning year. The sites were Cook County Health in Illinois; the Indiana Department of Health; the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, CT; and the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Sacramento County, CA. Each of the sites received technical assistance from the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, including help with technology and training, developing local partnerships, and more.  

At the conclusion of the planning year, the sites were evaluated around five learning cycles:

  • Developing an initiative-level theory of change
  • Building a robust technical assistance model that is responsive to the capacities and needs of the demonstration sites
  • Understanding the value of a learning exchange for demonstration sites
  • Exploring how COVID-19 influenced Child Safety Forward
  • Evaluating the planning year's impact on the development of the demonstration site's implementation plans

The brief provides the following insights:

  • Systems need to use a public health, cross-sector approach.
  • Systems need to adapt and respond to changing environments.
  • Policies and practices addressing racism, disparate outcomes, and power dynamics between systems and families are underdeveloped.
  • Systems should not rely on quantitative data alone.
  • Technical assistance and shared learning are needed to sustain effective strategies. 

Read Child Safety Forward Planning Year Evaluation Brief for more information.