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Investment Management

The Data Center’s research and development in the area of business analytics provides the knowledge child welfare agencies need to make cost-efficient investments in improving outcomes for children and families. By identifying program strengths and weaknesses, pinpointing areas for targeted intervention, and monitoring return on investment, this body of work is producing the knowledge agencies need to become more strategic — both programmatically and fiscally.

Selected projects:

Do Family Support Centers Reduce Maltreatment Investigations? Evidence from Allegheny County

Fred Wulczyn and Bridgette Lery | 2018
In light of the Family First Act, the field is interested in identifying positive effects of primary prevention programs. In this report we explore the influence of Family Support Centers in Allegheny County on maltreatment reporting.
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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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Performance-Based Contracting in Tennessee

Jennifer Haight
In 2005, Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services engaged the Data Center in an effort to improve outcomes for children placed with contracted private services providers. We helped the state design and implement a performance- based contract that led to improved permanency for children and $20 million in savings to the state over five years.
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Finding the Return on Investment: A Framework for Monitoring Local Child Welfare Agencies

Fred Wulczyn, Britany Orlebeke, Jennifer Haight | 2009
From year to year, child welfare directors allocate resources in the hope that their efforts will improve children’s outcomes. In this paper, we present a framework that state and local child welfare agencies can use to monitor their return on those investments. Focusing on traditional child welfare outcomes pertaining to child maltreatment and foster care, the goal is to burrow through the complexity involved in understanding whether system performance is improving and whether the improvements are connected to changes in how resources are invested.
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Setting Capitated Rates for Child Welfare Programs

Fred Wulczyn, Eileen Sheu | 1997
Child welfare services currently operate in an environment characterized by increasing need for services and calls for cost containment and system reform. The authors of this paper suggest that capitated rates represent a potentially useful strategy for meeting those demands. This paper discusses issues related to setting a capitation rate and how to estimate the maximum rate of expenditure permissible for solvency under the proposed capitation rate.
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