Evaluation and Evidence Based Practice

  • Permanency Planning Today: Series on Evidence-Based Practice
    Part One (Spring 2012)
    The first issue in the series provides basic foundational information on evidence-based practice and points our readership toward resources and information to support workers, policymakers, administrators, and others involved in the field in implementing policies and practice that are evidence-based.

    Part Two (Winter 2012-2013)
    The second issue in the series builds on the first, providing more advanced information and delving deeper in exploring evidence-based practice. An interview with Mark Lipsey, Ph.D, provides a more expansive understanding of approaches to evidence-based practice. Subsequent articles discuss evaluation, logic models, and related resources, tools, and information to support selection and effective implementation of evidence-based practices. The article, “Making the Commitment to Evidence-Based Practice: The New York Foundling Experience,” discusses the process of making the shift to evidence-based practice in juvenile justice, mental health, preventive, and foster care services at New York Foundling, and describes the positive outcomes achieved as a result of the changes made.
  • NRCOI Continuous Quality Improvement in Child Welfare Project
    The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NRCOI) began a national project focused on continuous quality improvement (CQI) in child welfare. They reached out to all state CQI leads asking them to participate in a phone interview focused on their state's CQI system, and received a great response. This new website section contains descriptive information on CQI systems from 33 different states, topic-based summaries, CQI resources, and information on T/TA provided by the NRCOI and the National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology (NRC-CWDT). They hope this website will serve as a resource for CQI leaders, child welfare administrators, and policy makers to generate ideas and provide information on how states approach continuous quality improvement. (2012)
  • The Program Manager’s Guide to Evaluation
    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) has published an updated edition of The Program Manager’s Guide to Evaluation. The original guide has consistently been among the most frequently accessed of OPRE’s resources. Like the original, this edition explains what program evaluation is, why evaluation is important, how to conduct an evaluation and understand the results, how to report evaluation findings, and how to use evaluation results to improve programs that benefit children and families. (Second Edition, 2010)
  • A Guide to Implementing Evidence-Based Programs and Policies
    Policymakers and funders are increasingly asking for research evidence about programs and services aimed at children and families. While it is important to ask about effectiveness, it is equally important to understand the limits of research evidence and the complexities of implementing programs in communities. This Social Policy Report Brief from the Society for Research in Child Development includes the following sections: Policy Implications, What the Research Says, and Facts at a Glance. This brief summarizes a longer Social Policy Report by Robert B. McCall, Co-Director of the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development and Professor of Psychology. (2009)
  • Using Qualitative Data in Program Evaluation: Telling the Story of a Prevention Program
    This resource from FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention was developed for program administrators, managers, direct service practitioners and others as they expand and enhance current and future evaluation efforts. It is important to use qualitative evaluation techniques to better understand results found in quantitative data. By intentionally and thoughtfully using qualitative evaluation methods in conjunction with quantitative methods, one can understand why certain results were achieved or not achieved, explain unexpected outcomes and inform decisions about modifications to service provision. It can expand and explain the evidence used to demonstrate which practices work and why. The guide describes and defines qualitative evaluation. It also includes practical content on: Getting started in qualitative evaluation; collecting data through interviews, observations, enumeration and sampling, and document review; how to analyze and report on qualitative data; and, how to use qualitative data to make program decisions. The guide contains examples of data collecting activities and reporting and a glossary of terms. (2009)
  • Growing Research in Practice: An Innovative Partnership Model
    This report from the Families Commission in New Zealand describes a program which aimed to help develop a culture of inquiry among practitioners in social service agencies in Auckland by developing strategies and resources to strengthen research-mindedness and related activity. GRIP worked with nine social service agencies to have them explore research questions of immediate concern to practitioners. While all the projects were ultimately about improving services to clients, particularly families, they took different approaches. (January 2008)
  • Implementing Evidence-Based Practice in Treatment Foster Care: A Resource Guide
    The guide by The Foster Family-based Treatment Association (FFTA) highlights valuable information, references, resources, and tools for implementing Evidence-based Practices (EBPs) in Treatment Foster Care (TFC) service settings. The Resource Guide identifies specific models, interventions, and tools that TFC providers can use to deliver effective services to the children, youth, and families in their care. It also provides “how-to” information to help TFC providers successfully implement desired EBPs in their programs. (2008)
  • Adapting Evidence-Based Treatments for Use with American Indian and Native Alaskan Children and Youth
    This article discusses trauma, broadening an individualistic understanding of trauma to also take into account the cultural, historical, and intergenerational trauma that has accumulated in American Indian and Native Alaskan (AI/AN) communities. It identifies key conceptual evidence-based practices and how they are adapted to be culturally appropriate for AI/AN children and families, and/or how these approaches are related to AI/AN traditional approaches, beliefs, and values. Winter 2007 Focal Point, Vo. 21, No. 1
  • The Move to Evidence Based Practice: How Well Does it Fit Child Welfare Services?
    Child welfare services (CWS) are engaged in examining and applying concepts from evidence based practice. This paper provides background on evidence based practice in child welfare and suggests the areas of least and greatest fit between the methods of evidence based practice and CWS. Implications for the emergence of more evidence based approaches to CWS are forwarded. Suggestions for social work education are also offered. (October 2007)
  • An Effective Child Welfare System and Evidence-Based Practice for the Child Welfare System
    This monograph from the National Family Preservation Network is about Allegheny County Department of Human Services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The monograph describes why Allegheny County's system is effective and also includes a list of 21 evidence-based practices and programs that have been found effective, or show promise of being effective, in the child welfare system. (October 2006)
  • Guide for Child Welfare Administrators on Evidence Based Practice
    This document, a collaborative effort between the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators (NAPCWA) and the Chadwick Center for Children, provides a common language and framework for understanding the conditions, challenges, and opportunities of evidence based practice in child welfare. (2005)
  • Emerging Practices in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
    Published as a component of the Child Abuse Prevention Initiative administered by the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, this study identifies evidence-based effective practices in the field of child abuse prevention. Exemplary prevention programs were nominated for the project and reviewed by an advisory group of experts. The report provides an overview of child abuse prevention and describes each of the selected programs. (2003)
  • About Empirically-supported Practices
    Empirically-supported practices are also referred to as evidence-based and science-based practices. The terms refer to any intervention that has been identified as having research data generated using methods that meet scientific standards and demonstrate a level of efficacy deemed worthy of application and evaluation of effectiveness on a large scale. This article from the Center for Mental Health in Schools at the University of California, Los Angeles looks at the connection between research and "real world" interventions.
  • Briefs for Families on Evidence-Based Practices
    Parents rarely have access to research-based interventions. These briefs reflect the Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice's commitment to provide families with useful and usable information about evidenced-based practices regarding the development and adjustment of children with or at risk of developing serious emotional disturbance.
  • National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit Materials
    The Children’s Bureau hosted its first National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit in May 2009 in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the Summit was to explore the current state of evaluation practice in the field of child welfare and to promote cohesive, strategic, and sound approaches for evaluating child welfare systems, programs, and practice. The materials provided to the Children’s Bureau by presenters at the Summit are available to the public on the website of James Bell Associates, including PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and resources. (Use the scroll feature to locate these materials). The documents are listed in the order that they appear on the agenda.

Training Curricula

  • Evidence-Based Practice in Child Welfare in the Context of Cultural Competence
    This free learning workshop about the juncture of evidence-based practice and cultural competence in child welfare is available online. The learning workshop consists of six self-study modules useful for workers, supervisors, administrators and students who are interested in improving practice and managing to achieve culturally competent, evidence-based practice. Viewers of the workshop can proceed at their own pace and may take optional quizzes at the end of the modules to test their knowledge. The information presented in the workshop came out of a forum held at the University of Minnesota that included a series of talks, panels, and small group discussions of professionals and community members from around the country. (See the Websites section of this page for more information.) (June 2007)
  • Results Oriented Management in Child Welfare
    This free web-based training for child welfare managers and supervisors consists of 21 separate interactive modules. It covers: using outcome data to inform and target program improvement efforts; understanding and interpreting outcomes performance data; developing effective action plans; establishing a results-oriented organizational culture; learning what the research literature says about factors impacting outcome attainment; and understanding the outcome oriented policy context

PowerPoint Presentation

  • Overview of Evidence-Based Practice
    This presentation was given to the National Association of State Foster Care Managers in October, 2007 by Charles Wilson, Executive Director of the Chadwick Center for Children and Families, and sponsored by the California Child Welfare Clearinghouse.

Teleconferences, Webcasts, & Webinars

  • The Logic Model Builder and Information Gateway Resources for Exploring the Research on Evidence-Based Practices
    Logic models are critical to good planning, implementation, and evaluation of services. The FRIENDS’ approach to logic models places a strong emphasis on articulating the rationale behind services provided. In developing a logic model, it is incumbent on service providers to understand and document the research or other evidence that suggests their services will achieve positive outcomes for children and families. This webinar, offered by FRIENDS National Resource Center on Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention and Child Welfare Information Gateway, provided a demonstration of the interactive, web-enabled Logic Model Builder and explored Child Welfare Information Gateway’s online library. This webinar is appropriate for those who are providing prevention services as well as those who are providing post-adoption services. This webinar covered: The purposes and development of the Evaluation Toolkit and Logic Model Builder; how to use the Logic Model Builder, with options and features for developing and presenting your logic model; and, how to use the Child Welfare Information Gateway library to conduct literature reviews and explore the research on child welfare practices. (May 2011)
  • Applying Evidence-Based Practice in Communities of Color Prevention Webinar Presented by the Federal Interagency Work Group on Child Abuse and Neglect
    Presenter: Vickie Ybarra, Director of Planning and Development, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic
    In this webinar, Vickie Ybarra discusses experiences with implementing evidence-based practices in the largest migrant health center system in the country, with clinics in Washington and Oregon. The presenter discusses three options that were available for implementing an evidence-based practice (EBP) in their community working primarily with Hispanic and Spanish-speaking populations: 1) Choose from among the very limited EBPs or promising practices that are culturally grounded. 2) Choose an EBP that is not culturally grounded and adapt it or choose not to adapt it but monitor it for applicability to the population. 3) Choose a culturally grounded practice that is not an EBP and document and research their experiences. On the Administration for Children & Families website, you can read the transcript of the webinar or listen to the audio by clicking on the WMV file in the upper right corner of the webpage. (June 11, 2008)


  • National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices
    NREPP, a service of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a searchable database with up-to-date, reliable information on the scientific basis and practicality of interventions. Users, such as community organizations and state and local officials, can perform custom searches to identify specific interventions based upon desired outcomes, target populations and service settings.
  • California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare
    This website is designed to: serve as an online connection for child welfare professionals, staff of public and private organizations, academic institutions, and others who are committed to serving children and families; provide up-to-date information on evidence-based child welfare practices; and facilitate the utilization of evidence-based practices as a method of achieving improved outcomes of safety, permanency and well-being for children and families involved in the California public child welfare system.
  • Evidence-Based Program Database
    The Evidence-Based Program Database at Ohio State University is a compilation of quality government, academic, and non-profit lists of evidence-based programs that appear online and/or in print form. It is meant for practitioners in the health and human services, education, mental health, child and family service, juvenile justice, and other social service systems that seek to change youth behaviors.
  • Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice - Child Welfare Issues
    The Center is collaborating with a number of Strategic Partners – clearinghouses, national membership associations, regional resource centers, and other family and education groups – to identify and disseminate information on effective practices. Contact information and program descriptions are available for strategic partner organizations.
  • A Guide to Evidence-Based Practices on the Web
    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides this Web Guide to assist the public with simple and direct connections to Web sites that contain information about interventions to prevent and/or treat mental and substance use disorders. The Web Guide provides a list of Web sites that contain information about specific evidence-based practices (EBPs) or provide comprehensive reviews of research findings.
  • Research in Practice
    This UK-based project promotes positive outcomes for children and families through the use of research evidence. The group achieves its mission by identifying effective methods of understanding and using research and by providing services to a collaborative network of committed agencies. Their work, developed with and for their partners, includes the website, network exchange, change projects, learning events, and publications.
  • Strengthening Families Through Early Care and Education
    The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) has developed a strategy to build on evidence-based protective factors for children and families to prevent the occurrence of child abuse and neglect. This strategy focuses on building protection for children within their homes and communities and seeks to overcome or mitigate manageable individual causes of child neglect and abuse such as parental isolation, lack of knowledge about child development, and mental, physical, or financial crisis in the family, rather than removing children from their homes.
  • Evidence-Based Practice in Child Welfare in the Context of Cultural Competence
    This forum was held in June 2007 at the University of Minnesota to respond to the problem of increasing pressure to demonstrate positive outcomes in child welfare services coupled with rather sparse evidence on what works for the children and families most likely to be served by these agencies. In addition, while children of color are often disproportionately represented in foster care, there is little information about the actual effectiveness of culturally sensitive and culturally competent approaches to practice. The goal of the meeting was to produce a plan to address this problem nationally and to craft pragmatic strategies that could be immediately applied in practice and policy. The proceedings of the meeting are available on this Web site, including links to videos, pod casts, Breeze presentations, and texts of the main portions of the forum.

  • Lifecourse Interventions to Nurture Kids Successfully
    LINKS, from Child Trends, summarizes evaluations of out-of-school time programs that work (or not) to enhance children's development, in a user-friendly format for policy makers, program providers, and funders. This approach is built on the concept that child development is a cumulative process that begins before birth and continues into young adulthood.


Last updated 12/5/12