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Aug 25 -- The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE); Administration for Children and Families (ACF); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), invites comments by October 24, 2022 on the proposed evaluation of Community Collaborations to Strengthen and Preserve Families (also referred to as Child Welfare Community Collaborations [CWCC]). The cross-site process evaluation will provide insight to ACF about the various factors that promote or impede the implementation of child welfare community collaborations.

This project supports the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in its work with the Children’s Bureau to advance the evidence around collaborative approaches to preventing child abuse and neglect. In 2018 and 2019, the Children’s Bureau funded grants to states, communities, and Tribes to develop, implement, and evaluate proactive strategies that build on the strengths of families. The initiative supports community-level mobilization around the development of multi-system collaboratives that provide a continuum of activities and services designed to prevent child abuse and neglect. The first cohort of four grantees received CWCC funds in 2018, and the second cohort of nine grantees received CWCC funds in 2019.

The Building Capacity to Evaluate Child Welfare Community Collaborations to Strengthen and Preserve Families (CWCC) project supports the Children’s Bureau effort through two primary components:

-- Evaluation-related technical assistance to strengthen grantees’ evaluation capacity to conduct site-specific outcome evaluations.
-- A cross-site process evaluation of each cohort of grantees to better understand how communities came together to develop and implement integrated approaches to preventing child maltreatment, including documenting project and organizational leadership approaches, integration and alignment strategies, and recruitment and assessment methods to identify and serve at-risk families.

Specific technical assistance activities to support the Community Collaboration cooperative agreements include:

-- Guide grantees and their evaluators through the design of high quality, rigorous, and informative process and outcome evaluations, including finalizing project theory of change and developing research questions, methodologies, adoption of valid and reliable process and outcome measures, data privacy and security strategies, and evaluation timelines.
-- Support the implementation of grantee-designed evaluations, analyze evaluation data, and disseminate findings in a way to help generate evidence around strategies that can be adapted by other communities to reduce new referrals to public child welfare agencies; reduce unnecessary removals of children from their homes; reduce entry into foster care; and improve cross-system, primary prevention of child abuse and neglect.
-- Grow sustainable grantee evaluation capacity and build cultures of data use in project and organizational decision-making processes.

Specific activities related to cross-site evaluation include:

-- Design a flexible and feasible cross-site process evaluation that captures unique site specific project development, while also comparing and contrasting grant design and implementation to identify strategies for future study and exploration.
-- Collect qualitative and quantitative data to document how child maltreatment prevention community partnerships are developed and executed; how systems are adapted and realigned to ensure families at risk of being referred to child protective services agencies for abuse and neglect allegations are identified and linked to prevention services; how information is shared across the collaborating partners; and how the communities develop cultures of data use and sharing to measure progress toward prevention of child abuse and neglect.
-- Disseminate evaluation findings so other communities developing primary prevention of child maltreatment strategies can build from and leverage design and implementation lessons learned.

The project team is led by Abt Associates in partnership with Child Trends and consultant Sharon McGroder.
The evaluation involves seven data collection activities. Initial interviews with Project Directors and leaders from partner organizations and initial interviews with staff from lead and partner organizations have been completed. This request includes the remaining five activities:

• Survey Invitee Template: This template requests the Project Director of each CWCC grant to fill out a Survey Invitee Template to gather contact information for leaders and staff from lead and partner organizations who the evaluation team will invite to complete the Collaboration Survey (see below).
• Collaboration Survey: This electronic survey documents perceptions that leaders and staff from the CWCC lead and partner organizations have regarding their organizational/group processes, implementation activities, and progress towards goals. This survey is administered to staff at all grantee and partner organizations on an annual basis during each cohort's grant period.
• Site Visit Planning Template: Each project director (or their designee) will complete a Site Visit Planning Template to schedule site visit activities prior to each annual site visit.
• Two Site Visit Discussion Guides: To systematically document the approaches and strategies used by the first two cohorts of CWCC grantees (fiscal year (FY) 18 and FY 19 awardees), the evaluation team will conduct follow-up interviews with: (1) Project Directors from lead grantee organizations and leaders from partner organizations, and (2) Staff from the lead and partner organizations. These interviews will take place during site visits. Each grantee will participate in four site visits in total. As noted above, the first two have already been completed.

Building Capacity to Evaluate Child Welfare Community Collaborations (CWCC) to Strengthen and Preserve Families https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/project/building-capacity-evaluate-child-welfare-community-collaborations-strengthen-and
Draft data collection instruments and technical documentation https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tpcn7627e2slbg0/AADXFUw4qhmtr7ubfqGpiJsVa?dl=0
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-18327

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