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Focus Areas

Child and Family Services

The Child and Family Services (CFS) Team at HSRI provides program evaluation, performance monitoring, quality assurance, strategic planning, training and technical assistance to child-serving agencies with the ultimate goal of promoting best practice in supporting vulnerable children and families. For children at risk of abuse or neglect, youth aging out of the foster care system, and families struggling to stay together and deal with the challenges of poverty, unemployment, substance use, and domestic violence, HSRI seeks to improve safety net of social policies and programs. The CFS team works closely with representatives from all levels of the public sector (federal, state, and local officials) to design, implement, and report the findings from our varied projects.  While our work is currently focused on child welfare service systems, we have significant experience in other allied human services areas such as developmental disabilities, mental health, substance use, and juvenile justice. Whatever our audience may be, we use the same basic approach of strong communication and collaboration to ensure that our work is grounded in the reality of the current service environment as experienced by children and families.

The CFS Team provides a wide array of services and supports to our clients, including:

  • Conducting both large and small-scale program evaluations to determine the impact of program initiatives: These projects often have several components, including implementation, outcomes and cost studies.
  • Conducting program reviews or assessments of existing service delivery systems to document the current status of a service system and to offer recommendations for program enhancements.
  • Examining quality assurance and improvement systems, suggesting new approaches to monitoring quality and outcomes.
  • Assisting organizations in developing the capacity to gather client-level data that can in turn be used to inform policy-level decisions.

To conduct this work, CFS staff uses a variety of techniques. To collect qualitative information, we are skilled at conducting intensive site visits and interviews with agency staff and community partners to understand the agency or community perspective, as well as focus groups and telephone interviews with service recipients to understand the client perspective. In using quantitative data, the team is well versed at examining data from existing information systems, as well as developing and utilizing new data systems to capture information not currently available. Finally, the CFS team is able to integrate these qualitative and quantitative findings into comprehensive reports for our target audience, modifying them as needed to effectively engage the intended audience.