• October 2004
  • Vol. 5, No. 8

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New Tool Helps State Child Welfare Agencies Track Performance

More than ever, State child welfare agencies are focused on outcomes for the children and families they serve. Stakeholders across the board--government regulators, the media, and the public--want to know that public investments in child welfare are achieving measurable improvements in the lives of children and families. Through a paid subscription, the new Center for State Foster Care and Adoption Data (http://csfcad.chapinhall.org; Editor's note: Link no longer active), a partnership of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) and Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, offers State child welfare agencies a national database to help manage local programs and assess local agency performance and improvement over time.

The Center's database model, which uses State administrative data, was developed at Chapin Hall to bring member child welfare agencies cutting-edge information technology for performance measurement. Guided by an advisory board of State public child welfare administrators, the Center's database gives members the capacity to:

  • Analyze key child welfare outcomes, including time to reunification, time to adoption, placement stability, and re-entry to care
  • Compare outcomes for different administrative offices within their State or with other States
  • Trace outcomes from the aggregate to the individual child level
  • Project future service patterns based on historical trends
  • Test the impact of service and policy innovations
  • Set performance goals and monitor progress
  • Link financial decision-making to outcome measures
  • Tell their story to the media and make their case to legislators

In addition to the longitudinal database, subscribing agencies receive technical assistance on installation and use of the database and access to multi-State data for benchmarking. Optional features include web tools for data mining and additional technical assistance in the strategic use of data for program evaluation, budgeting, policy analysis, and compliance reporting.

The Center is operated in collaboration with the Jordan Institute for Families at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Center for Social Services Research at the University of California at Berkeley. Technical assistance for subscribers is provided in coordination with APHSA and its affiliate, the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators. Core funding for the Center comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. For more information about the Center, contact:

Pat Shapiro
American Public Human Services Association
810 First Street NE
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20002
Email: pshapiro@aphsa.org
Phone: (202) 682-0100

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