Data for Policy Planning and Analysis
This chapter builds on the previous chapter's discussion of the limitations of the existing Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) outcomes indicators that rely heavily on cross-sectional samples of active cases and exit cohort samples of children discharged from foster care. It reviews some of the challenges of analyzing child welfare outcomes when program and policy changes are still in the process of implementation, and discusses recent advances in longitudinal data analysis of time-to-outcome data. The chapter also provides an overview of the concept of statistical power, and discusses the importance of distinguishing between statistical and practical significance when assessing agency performance. It concludes with an illustration of how greater transparency can be brought to the analysis of family reunification trends in Illinois through statistical risk-adjustment for variations in child demographic characteristics, family needs, and other conditions of the populations served by the child welfare system.
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