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Fostering AccountabilityUsing Evidence to Guide and Improve Child Welfare Policy$
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Mark F. Testa and John Poertner

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195321302

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195321302.001.0001

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Outcomes Monitoring in Child Welfare

Outcomes Monitoring in Child Welfare

(p.101) 4 Outcomes Monitoring in Child Welfare
Fostering Accountability

Tom McDonald

Mark F. Testa

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the first stage of results-oriented accountability (ROA): the routine monitoring of child welfare outcomes. It focuses on the federal Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) and the proposed Chafee National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD). The chapter calls for strengthening these monitoring systems by adopting the methods of longitudinal data analysis and by tracking entry cohorts in order to facilitate this type of analyses. It draws attention to the problems of selectivity, truncation and censoring, which if not properly taken into account, can misguide practitioners' and administrators' assessment of child welfare trends and system performance. It also considers what may be necessary to shore up the weakest area of the CFSR process, which is the monitoring of child wellbeing. The current reliance on small samples of case reviews is insufficient for drawing reliable or valid conclusions about agency performance in promoting child wellbeing. A set of criteria for assessing both the validity and integrity of an outcomes-monitoring system is presented.

Keywords:   results-oriented accountability, child welfare monitoring, Family Services Reviews, Youth in Transition, case reviews

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