Friday, January 18, 2019: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Continental Parlor 7, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Child Welfare (CW)
Haksoon Ahn, PhD, University of Maryland at Baltimore
Diane DePanfilis, PhD, MSW, Hunter College and
Richard P. Barth, PHD, University of Maryland at Baltimore
In 1994, amendments to the Social Security Act authorized the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (US DHHS) to review all state child and family service programs. As US DHHS evaluates each state agency's programs and services to ensure achievement of positive outcomes for children and families, some states are partnering with universities to develop, implement, and evaluate programs that move beyond the core outcomes of child welfare services in an attempt to increase effectiveness and efficiency. Child welfare systems are increasingly using evidence-based practice to improve outcomes for children and families (Barth, 2008), and these partnerships combine the strengths of both organizations and produce substantial changes in child welfare policy and practice. As recognition of these productive partnerships increases, more states are showing interest in working with universities to use research to guide their policy and service. Studies show that a state university's involvement in the development and implementation of social services through providing scientific consultation and analytic process evaluation, and the balance between the universities' roles and state agencies' responsibility are important factors of monitoring social services and policies (Ahn, et al, 2017; Goughler & Anderson, 2009). The purpose of this symposium is to report four child welfare focused service and evaluation partnerships and examine the role of the university in the evaluation of states' child welfare policies and services. The four studies were conducted to provide findings that were used to inform policy change and improve services as follows:
Study (1) "Updating Minimum Adequate Foster Care Costs” reports standardized methodology to estimate adequate foster care costs to better serve children in care and foster parents. This study's findings contributed to the state's increase in foster care payments and guides future directions to meet the basic needs of children in care.
Study (2) "Child Welfare Birth Match: Timely Use of Child Welfare Administrative Data to Protect Newborns” presents a comprehensive review of policies and procedures and an examination of child welfare outcomes, the formative processes, mechanics, benefits, and barriers to using administrative data to identify at risk newborns.
Study (3) "Findings from a Statewide Enumeration and Survey of Unaccompanied Homeless Youth” presents results from an ongoing innovative enumeration of homeless youth, finding that 2,425 unaccompanied homeless youth had instability in their living situations with over half reporting moving multiple times within a 2-month period. This study illustrates the importance of having a youth specific enumeration methodology and suggests important efforts to end and prevent youth homelessness.
Study (4) "The Child Sex Trafficking Victims Initiative: Developing a Comprehensive Response to Sex Trafficking Among Child Welfare-Involved Youth” was conducted to build a greater awareness and better response to child trafficking within child welfare populations. The findings also contributed to the development of a cohesive training plan that will be used by the state agency in statewide staff educational opportunities.
The symposium will stimulate conversation that will promote a better understanding of relevant issues regarding university collaboration with state agencies for child welfare research, and implementation of policies and services.
* noted as presenting author