Program Evaluation

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Consultation and Technical Assistance for Baltimore City Department of Social Services

American Humane worked in partnership with the Baltimore City Department of Social Services to provide technical assistance and consultation to improve the quality of their child protection services system. First, a comprehensive evaluation of their current system and infrastructure of child protection was conducted by reviewing their legislative and policy mandates; and conducting interviews, surveys, and focus groups. This assessed and delineated the targeted areas of greatest concern and/or future challenge for the department, and selected and prioritized these issues for technical assistance and consultation to be provided by American Humane. These areas were assessed within the context of the requirements and directions found in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, which increased the focus on agency accountability around the achievement of child safety and timely permanency. Based on the evaluation, American Humane created, with input from the department, training materials to support and improved the Department's screening and investigation process.


Family Reunification Project, Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District

The Children’s Bureau funded the Colorado Fourth Judicial District, composed of El Paso County and Teller County, and its partners, including American Humane, to create a Family Reunification Coalition. By taking a comprehensive view of families’ situations, the Coalition will reduce fragmentation of services, facilitate coordination of care and increase treatment capacity. Focus of the grant is on substance abuse, since Colorado is a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). Partially due to its geographic uniqueness, the Fourth Judicial District has seen a steady increase in the negative effects of methamphetamine and other substance abuse on child safety, well-being and permanency. American Humane is serving as the lead evaluator for this grant.

Contra Costa County

Contra Costa County

American Humane was contracted by the Children and Family Services Bureau of Contra Costa County, California, to conduct a detailed review and analysis of the flow of child and family services cases through the child welfare system in the county. The purpose of this study was to identify and examine systemic barriers or obstacles that impede the County's ability to meet and maintain compliance with Division 31 regulations.

The goals were to develop a detailed mapping of the case flow process that visually delineated the movement of children and families as they transition through multiple, varied, and complex stages of the child welfare intervention process; and to identify systemic barriers in the case flow process that created delays and/or inefficiencies for accomplishing a seamless and smooth transition to subsequent points of intervention or decision making. By developing a concrete, visual representation of the case flow process, American Humane identified specific points where cases got "stuck" in the system and gained a practical and reality-based understanding of the barriers that are obstructing program quality and regulatory compliance.

Hennepin County

Hennepin County Program Evaluation

American Humane worked in partnership with the Hennepin County Children and Family Services Department to conduct a focused review of specific aspects of the child protective services delivery system. The evaluation was conducted in two phases to target resources more efficiently and allow for more resources to be allocated toward examining the areas of greatest concern during the second phase of the evaluation. During Phase I, the project team completed a preliminary scan of the department's current system and infrastructure of child protection by reviewing its legislative and policy mandates and conducting interviews and focus groups. This assessed and delineated the issues of the department and selected and prioritized the targeted areas of study for Phase II. During Phase II, the project team conducted an in-depth evaluation of the targeted issues, mutually agreed upon by the department, that comprised the greatest issues of concern and/or future challenge for the department's operation of the child protection program.

Based on the evaluation findings, American Humane prepared a detailed report that closely examined issues identified by the department and ascertained strengths and future direction to build the capacity of the child protection program. American Humane also provided the department with recommendations for system improvement based on national standards and best practice guidelines to improve the capacity of the department to carry out its mandates to ensure safety and permanency for children in Hennepin County.


Illinois Outcomes

This project involved the analysis of safety (recurrence) and placement rates for children in intact family cases in Illinois. Longitudinal data were used to produce an annual report on outcomes for children in Illinois. This work addressed date from 1977 through 1998.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Request for Proposals (RFP)

American Humane has developed an outcomes measure in the Bureau of Child Protection Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Los Angeles County, Department of Children and Family Services. This work involves establishing parameters of evaluation and developing a profile of front-end systems, producing client and system baseline outcome reports, reviewing possible recommendations regarding changes to solidify and/or stabilize system infrastructure prior to performance of evaluation, and producing the RFP to conduct an outcomes evaluation. The RFP is anticipated for release in winter 2002/2003.

Native American

Native American Needs Assessment

For this project, initiated and funded by the Casey Family Programs (TCFP), American Humane conducted a comprehensive needs and strengths assessment of designated Indian communities to provide those communities and TCFP with a better understanding of the needs and strengths of Native American families, children, and youth in each of those communities. The goal was to enable these communities to take leadership in developing comprehensive planning efforts with TCFP, and other service providers, to better address the needs of their families, children, and youth in a coordinated fashion.

The primary focus of the assessment was services to children, youth, caregivers, and families across the range of preventive and early intervention needs, as well as the needs of a child, young person, or caregiver already involved in the system of child welfare services. Another priority was learning what could be done to improve the system of services and service delivery.

The geographical focus of the assessment included the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations, as well as the Denver metropolitan area. A separate needs assessment was done for Fort Berthoud.

The overall principle guiding the assessment was the importance of listening to the people. Although a great deal of effort was made to read previous reports and publications describing the communities and their needs, extract and review the available statistical information from child welfare data systems, and study socioeconomic and demographic information, the main focus of this needs assessment was conducting multiple focus groups, surveys, and interviews in the four communities.


The Development, Operation, and Utilization of an Outcome Measurement Program in the City of Philadelphia

American Humane, under contract by the City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services, Children and Youth Services Division (CYD), developed and implemented a child welfare outcome measurement system for in-home and family foster care services. The system serves both CYD and private agencies that contract with the department. This multi-year effort was initiated in 1996, in partnership with the Crime and Justice Research Center at Temple University, and included the completion of the following five major activities.

  1. Analysis of the existing service delivery system by conducting an assessment of CYD and provider agency programs.
  2. Development and identification of outcome indicators.
  3. Identification and selection of outcome measurement tools.
  4. Pre-implementation (pilot) testing of the outcome measurement program.
  5. Analysis and transfer of knowledge of the outcome measurement program to CYD and private providers.

Each of these activities was completed in succession, for the following domains.

  • Services to Children in their Own Homes (SCOH), with an emphasis on family preservation and the prevention of out-of-home placements.
  • Family Foster Care (FFC), with an emphasis on reunification with families of children who are in out-of-home care.

American Humane is working in partnership with Temple University's Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) to maintain the system. American Humane and IPA bring to the project national, state, and local expertise in the development and implementation of outcome measurement programs for children, youth, and families. The system includes case level measurement of safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes. This initiative represents a large-scale implementation of an outcomes framework and builds on the work of American Humane's Outcome Measures Roundtables.

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