James Bell Associates (JBA) and the Wellesley Centers for Women, through support from the Barr Association, are conducting an evaluation of early childhood education and out-of-school time (EEOST) programs that have received capital grant funds from the state. The evaluation measures (1) program quality, (2) teacher-child interactions, and (3) child well-being before and after the programs have made capital funds improvements to facilities. JBA staff leading this project are Allison Meisch, Nivedita Ranade, and Erin Morehouse. To read more from the Boston project funders, Children’s Investment Fund in Massachusetts, click here.
At the 22nd Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work & Research (SSWR), James Bell presented during a roundtable, Building Capacity of Child Welfare Agencies to Use Evidence Supported Interventions, moderated by Maria Woolverton, Director, Division of Family Strengthening, Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation, U.S. Administration for Children and Families. His two presentations drew from preliminary findings of the federal Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII), a Children’s Bureau multi-site demonstration project designed to improve permanency outcomes for children in foster care who face the most serious barriers to permanency. Mr. Bell presented formative evaluation findings for the California Partners for Permanency Project and findings and implications for evidence building from a cross-site PII implementation study. The SSWR conference was held in Washington, DC. from January 10-14, 2018. The theme of the conference was Achieving Equal Opportunity, Equity, and Justice. For more information click on PII Evaluation.
At the American Evaluation Association (AEA) 31st Annual Conference, November 6-11 in Washington, D.C., James Bell Associates staff members were well represented—making presentations, serving as the chair of panel sessions, and presenting papers. Erin Ingoldsy, Ph.D., and Tammy Richards, M.Ed., gave a presentation with Kristen Usher, ICF International, and Kathleen Wang and Sharon Newburg-Rinn, Children’s Bureau, titled Extracting and analyzing administrative child welfare case file data for use in multisite research and evaluation: An exploration into children with Prenatal Substance Exposure.
Elliott Graham, Ph.D., chaired of a panel session, Building the evaluation capacity of child-serving agencies—Developmental strategies that promote evidence building in the field. As part of this panel, the following JBA staff gave presentations: Anne Fromknecht, M.P.H. —Reciprocal learning: Facilitating peer engagement and identification of collective goals among federal child trafficking grantees; Heidi Melz, Ph.D.—The PII Approach: Integrating rigorous evaluation and implementation science to build evidence in child welfare; Julie Morales, Ph.D.—Evaluation capacity building in tribal communities: the Tribal Home Visiting Evaluation Institute; and Mariel Sparr, Ph.D.—Improving the evaluation capacity of home visiting grantees using a multi-level developmental approach.
Jim DeSantis, Ph.D., chaired a panel session, Mixed-methods evaluations of capacity building in child welfare: Strategies for addressing methodological challenges and using collaborative evaluation approaches. In addition, JBA staff (Jim DeSantis, Ph.D.; Tammy Richards, M.Ed.; Joanna DeWolfe, M.S.; and Heidi Melz, Ph.D.) and consultant Anita Barbee (University of Louisville) presented on Cross-center evaluation: The role of collaboration among four evaluation teams.
The annual conference brought together evaluators, evaluation scholars, students, and evaluation users from around the world to assemble, share, and learn from the successes of the international discipline and practice of evaluation.
The National Home Visiting Resource Center (NHVRC) was established in January 2016 to share knowledge about early childhood home visiting. Its goal is to support sound decisions in policy and practice to help children and families thrive.
For its first issue brief, NHVRC staff interviewed leads for several MIECHV-funded projects to learn about their goals, key players, accomplishments, implications, and upcoming activities. Read the full NHVRC brief to learn more about the—
Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (HV CoIIN)
Maternal and Child Health Bureau investigator-initiated studies
State, territory, and tribal-led evaluation
Also as an additional source to keep up with home visiting activities and current information go to the NHVRC BLOG — to read articles such as Home Home Visiting Applied Research Collaborative (HARC) Visitors and Law Enforcement: Unlikely Allies in the fight Against Child Maltreatment and Community Crime.
The NHVRC is led by James Bell Associates in partnership with the Urban Institute. Support is provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation (MIHOPE).
Through the Family Engagement Impact Project (FEIP), James Bell Associates was contracted through the Education Program at the Heising-Simons Foundation to develop a series of tips and resources for funders, practitioners, and policy makers to better coordinate family engagement efforts across organizations. The project supported multiple collaborations between school districts, community organizations, and early childhood providers.
The FEIP goal was to develop methods to improve the ways communities, professionals, and parents engage in children’s learning, and to promote positive educational outcomes for low-income immigrant children from birth through age 8. The initiative took place in two California counties, San Mateo and Santa Clara.
FEIP engaged Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. to evaluate the implementation phase of the project. JBA drew from the evaluation findings to develop a series of six briefs for parents and educators. To view each brief, click on the title.
1. The Family Engagement Impact Project (FEIP): Overview. A visual representation of the goals, strategies, and outcomes of the initiative.
2. Building Capacity for Family Engagement. Read how grantee partnerships that were part of FEIP built the capacity of families, professionals, and organizations to work together and bolster educational outcomes for young children.
3. Evaluating Family Engagement. Discover key steps used to evaluate FEIP and glean insights into methods and instruments that can be used to assess family engagement services and outcomes.
4. Implementing Raising A Reader Plus. Learn about the successes and challenges of FEIP grantee partnerships in implementing Raising A Reader Plus, an early literacy and parent engagement program that helps improve reading skills of children birth through age 8.
5. Supporting Teachers to Engage Parents. Read five important lessons learned about building teachers’ knowledge, skills, and confidence to engage families.
6. Building Community Partnership in Support of Family Engagement. Take a look at 10 tips for community partnerships seeking to coordinate a family engagement initiative.
The National Home Visiting Resource Center (NHVRC) web site, featuring the new 2017 Home Visiting Yearbook is available. The NHVRC provides comprehensive information about early childhood home visiting. Its goal is to support sound decisions in policy and practice to help children and families thrive. Other features on the site include a catalog of home visiting research, an interactive map with data, and stories from the field. To learn more and stay in touch with the NHVRC visit www.nhvrc.org
The 2017 Home Visiting Yearbook presents a portrait of early childhood home visiting across America, expanding the understanding of who receives, administers, and funds home visiting. Highlights from the yearbook include (1) more than a quarter of a million families (including more than 300,000 children) received evidence-based home visiting services in 2015 over the course of more than 2 million home visits and (2) about 18 million pregnant women and families (including more than 23 million children) could benefit from home visiting but are not being reached. For more information on the 2017 Home Visiting Yearbook, click on an overview and yearbook.
NHVRC was established in January 2016 to share knowledge about early childhood home visiting. Quality home visiting programs have demonstrated a range of positive outcomes, including improved child development and school readiness, reduced child maltreatment, improved parent education and employment outcomes, and increased economic self-sufficiency. The NHVRC collects, synthesizes, and disseminates information about home visiting to improve practice and policy at the national, state, and local levels. It focuses on three key areas: the need for home visiting, the status and characteristics of home visiting programs, and new and emerging research on home visiting.
The NHVRC is led by James Bell Associates in partnership with the Urban Institute. Support is provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
For fiscal year 2016, James Bell Associates (JBA) was recognized as one of the four TOP AWARDEES by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization and Program Support Center (PSC), Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ), on the inaugural PSC IDIQ Small Business Industry Day 2017, held in Washington, D.C., on April 5, 2017. Among the four awardees, JBA was the only small business receiving recognition; other top awardees were RTI, Urban Institute, and Mathematica.
For the fiscal year 2016, PSC IDIQ awarded over 23 million dollars for new awards to small businesses and over 59 million to new large business awards. This event was specifically designed to give small business awardees under the PSC IDIQ contract and HHS program staff an opportunity to meet in person, learn more about the PSC IDIQ procurement landscape, share ideas in an open dialogue, discuss needs and capabilities, and engage with PSC procurement staff providing support under this contract.
At the 20th anniversary meeting of the National Human Services Training Evaluation Symposium on May 24, 2017, in Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. James DeSantis, Vice President of James Bell Associates, delivered a presentation on “Challenges in Conducting Evaluation of Capacity Building Services Provided by Three Different Centers.” He presented an overview of the data collected to date for the cross-center evaluation of the capacity building collaborative and discussed the challenges of developing common instruments applying to all providers when there are differences in approach. He also spoke about challenges in making connections between T/TA and outcomes when contextual factors may have an influence. Dr. DeSantis served on a panel: the Evaluation Challenges Associated with Adaptation to Changing Priorities in Training and Technical Assistance Initiatives.
The theme of the symposium, hosted by the University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work, was Celebrating 20 Years of NHSTES: Honoring Our Past, Fulfilling Our Present, Preparing for Our Future.