Resource | Article

Incorporating Multiple Data Sources to Assess Changes in Organizational Capacity in Child Welfare Systems

Project: Cross-Center Evaluation of the Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative

Three federally funded Child Welfare Capacity Building Centers provide services to build the organizational capacity of public child welfare agencies to help meet federal requirements, improve practice, and improve outcomes for children and families.

The aim of this study was to explore capacity outcomes in five dimensions—resources, infrastructure, knowledge and skills, culture and climate, and engagement and partnership—achieved by child welfare jurisdictions that received Center services. Analyses describe the capacities targeted for improvement and the amount and type of services provided by Centers; assess the relationship between services and capacity increase; and explore  whether that relationship differs depending on the jurisdiction’s level of foundational capacity. Data collected through surveys and a service delivery tracking system reflect the perspectives of service recipients and service providers. Results reveal jurisdictions typically targeted capacity outcomes in the dimensions of knowledge and skills and infrastructure and received an average of 28 hours of direct services to support their capacity-building efforts. Dosage of service was positively associated with achievement of capacity outcomes, though no interaction was found between service dosage and foundational capacity in the effect on outcomes. Methodological lessons learned and implications for future evaluations of organizational capacity building efforts are offered.

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Melz, H., Fromknecht, A.E., Masters, L.D., Richards, T., & Sun, J. (April 2023). Incorporating multiple data sources to assess changes in organizational capacity in child welfare systems. Evaluation and Program Planning, 97, 102231.