Cost evaluation is a way of understanding how resources are used. For child welfare stakeholders, it can provide information about the value of resources used to deliver services along the continuum of child welfare programs, from prevention to permanency.
The Children’s Bureau requires jurisdictions with a title IV-E waiver to conduct evaluations of their demonstrations, including a cost evaluation, using an independent third-party evaluator. This toolkit will guide evaluators and program and financial staff in conducting a cost evaluation that meets the waiver requirements. It will also be useful for anyone who is interested in learning about cost evaluation.
Module A, Program-Level Cost Analysis, and Module B, Case-Level Cost Analysis, are currently available. Two additional modules are planned: Module C, Cost-Effectiveness Analysis, and Module D, Benefit-Cost Analysis and Return on Investment Analysis.
Each module in the toolkit is divided into steps and includes an appendix with tools such as worksheets and spreadsheets, resources, a glossary, and frequently asked questions. The toolkit will help users to—
- Consider the strengths and weaknesses of each type of cost analysis in relation to the need for cost information
- Understand options for conducting each type of cost analysis with different levels of resources
- Plan the cost evaluation
- Collect data on labor and other cost categories
- Analyze costs within the limitations of the selected type of cost analysis
- Synthesize and report analysis findings