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2004 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 9, No. 4
July 2004

Key Points

  • With adequate training and support, child welfare agencies can use data to enhance their performance and improve outcomes for families and children.

  • Self-evaluation is an approach to using data that can improve a child welfare agency's ability to collect accurate information, communicate with stakeholders, and deliver timely, targeted, effective interventions.

  • The organizational culture of an agency has tremendous influence over its ability to use outcome data in its decision making. Agencies should assess whether their vision, mission, and values—as well as the training their workers receive—all support the idea that outcome data can play a key role in creating better results for children and families.

  • Child welfare supervisors and frontline workers have a great deal of power in our child welfare system, in part because they are the ones who enter much of the data that is later used to make important funding, policy, and legislative decisions.

  • MRS, North Carolina’s pilot program to overhaul child protective services, provides families with the support they need without compromising children’s safety or increasing instances of substantiated child abuse and neglect.

  • North Carolina offers data resources, such as the “Experiences Reports,” that county child welfare agencies can use to understand and improve their performance.

  • There are resources out there to help you develop your capacity for self-evaluation. Some of these are listed in this issue. Others can be found in Vol. 5, No. 4 of Training Matters.