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Child Well-Being

The Data Center is primarily concerned with the well-being of the most vulnerable children in our society. Our research examines the role that families and communities play the lives of children, and is rooted in a developmental understanding that infants, children, teenagers, and young adults experience these influences in different ways. We also investigate the effects of public and social policy on children, families, and the areas in which they live. In this way, our research program in child well-being is a mechanism for social accountability — monitoring societal influences on child and family outcomes and measuring the extent to which policy and practice interventions have their intended effects.

Selected projects:

Foster Care Utilization among School-age Children

Lily Alpert | 2013
How many school-age children are in foster care, when during the school year do they enter the system, and how long do they stay in care? The answers to these questions have implications for practice and resource allocation in both the child welfare and education sectors.
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Foster Care Dynamics 2000-2005: A Report from the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive

Fred Wulczyn, Lijun Chen, & Kristen Brunner Hislop | 2005
This report provides a general overview of what happens when children are placed in foster care. Because of the large number of children for whom data are collected and how the data are organized, the data provide a useful baseline for studying entry and exit patterns. In turn, the findings can be used to draw inferences related to the question, “Given admission into foster care, what is the typical trajectory of children through the system?”
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Principles, Language, and Shared Meaning: Toward a Common Understanding of CQI in Child Welfare

Fred Wulczyn, Lily Alpert, Britany Orlebeke, & Jennifer Haight | 2014
Today, child welfare agencies are taking stock of their capacity for CQI and considering the investments they will make in order to build that capacity. While the structure of CQI systems will differ from one agency to the next, all of them will be responsible for supporting the same basic CQI process—a  cycle of problem solving activities that requires the deliberate use of evidence. In this paper we propose a fundamental vocabulary for describing what CQI is, the core principles on which CQI rests, and the critical role that evidence plays throughout the CQI process.
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Who Are the Infants in Out-of-Home Care?

Fred Wulczyn, Michelle Ernst, Philip Fisher | 2011
Infants represent a distinctive subset of the out-of-home care population. In this Issue Brief, the authors discuss infants’ unique needs and strengths, distinguishing them from older children in terms of their experiences in out-of-home care, characteristics of the infants themselves and their birth families, and the developmental issues particular to infancy to which child welfare professionals must be attuned.
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A 5-Year Projection in the Number of Children Turning Age 18 while in Foster Care

Fred Wulczyn, Linda Collins | 2010
In this report, the authors describe a model for projecting the number of children who will turn 18 while in foster care (i.e., will age out of foster care) in the coming five years. Taking into account changes in the number of children entering care, changes in the age distribution of children entering care, and changes in how long children stay in care, the model projects that the number of children aging out of foster care will most likely decline and then level off over the next 5 years.
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Adoption Dynamics: An Update on the Impact of the Adoption and Safe Families Act

Fred Wulczyn, Kristen Brunner Hislop, Lijun Chen | 2005
Among all of the provisions included in the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), those that relate to the termination of parental rights and adoption are perhaps most central to the law’s overarching purpose. This paper analyzes data from the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive to understand what effect, if any, the federal law has had on the proportion of children adopted from foster care and on the time needed to complete those adoptions.
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Search our Publications archive for additional papers and reports.