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It's not as simple as it sounds: Problems and solutions in accessing and using administrative child welfare data for evaluating the impact of early childhood interventions

Resource Type: Reports & Papers
Author(s): Green, Beth L.; Ayoub, Catherine; Bartlett, Jessica Dym; Furrer, Carrie Jean; Von Ende, Adam; Chazan-Cohen, Rachel; Klevens, Joanne; Nygren, Peggy;
Date Issued: October, 2015
Description: In recent years, there has been increasing interest in using administrative data collected by state child welfare agencies as a source of information for research and evaluation. The challenges of obtaining access to and using these data, however, have not been well documented. This study describes the processes used to access child welfare records in six different states and the approach to combining and using the information gathered to evaluate the impact of the Early Head Start program on children's involvement with the child welfare system from birth through age eleven. We provide "lessons learned" for researchers who are attempting to use this information, including being prepared for long delays in access to information, the need for deep understanding of how child welfare agencies record and code information, and for considerable data management work for translating agency records into analysis-ready datasets. While accessing and using this information is not easy, and the data have a number of limitations, we suggest that the benefits can outweigh the challenges and that these records can be a useful source of information for policy-relevant child welfare research. (author abstract)
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Funder(s): National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (U.S.). Division of Violence Prevention
Journal Title: Children and Youth Services Review
Volume Number: 57
Issue Number:
Page Range: 40-49
Topics: Research & Evaluation Methods > Evaluation Methods > Outcome Evaluation

Programs, Interventions & Curricula > Programs > Early Head Start/Head Start
Country: United States
States: ARKANSAS, CALIFORNIA, KANSAS, MICHIGAN, VERMONT, WASHINGTON
ISSN: 0190-7409 Paper
1873-7765 Online
Peer Reviewed: yes
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