Research Partnership to Improve NH State Data on Abused and Neglected Children (NH PARCS)
Summary. The central aim of this project is to improve NH’s child protective service system's data collection, data management and data analytic capabilities as a means to help the agency better provide for the safety, permanency and well-being of children. A one year planning period has been proposed to accomplish the key objectives.
Goals and Objectives
The central aim of this study is to improve NH’s child protective service system's data collection, data management and data analytic capabilities as a means to help the agency better provide for the safety, permanency and well-being of children. Key objectives, include:
- Develop a joint research agenda including research into practice, basic research, program evaluation, longitudinal research, and needs for research synthesis to enhance evidence-based practice;
- Identify key data elements that improve and expand upon both current risk measures (e.g., parental depression) and outcome measures (e.g., child well-being measures) in use by NH Division of Children, Youth and Families;
- Identify intermediate steps necessary to improve data collection, data quality and data analysis; Assist DCYF and other state and community agencies in identifying data sharing needs that would improve joint systems performance, and the well-being of families and children that present themselves to multiple systems.
The proposed research partnership will draw on multidisciplinary expertise at UNH as well as external consultants. Work Group meetings, stakeholder interviews, a web-based survey with DCYF staff, focus groups, and a synthesis of the literature on evidence based best practice will result in a formal report including next steps in implementing the agreed-upon plans formulated by the research partnership group.
Progress on Achieving Study Goals
Since the inception of the project in October 2005, we have held five joint meetings with DCYF and other stake holders. We have also been in touch with other experts from UNH who are engaged in related work (e.g.,developing system benchmarks, NH juvenile justice system data reforms), as to how they might inform this proposed project. A major focus of ongoing discussions has been relative to DCYF's needs for data support and possible reforms. For example, one possible role for CCRC in a future research partnership might be to conduct longitudinal analyses of NH DCYF’s AFCARS data. Literature reviews have been conducted on research/data partnerships, structured decisionmaking and risk assessment, and evaluation of home visitation programs. We have also synthesized relevant process and outcome measures as a first step in data reform. At this point in time, DCYF is most interested in, and concerned with, assessing the "efficacy" of their agency's work in interventions with families. This concept needs further refinement and we have drafted logic models as a way of further examining how to operationalize the concept with an eye to related data reforms. Other interests include using DCYF's SACWIS system to look at total costs of providing services, using data to identify gaps in data entry and to address needed improvements with workers, and to identify strengths as well as weaknesses.