What Works? Integrating Multiple Data Sources and Policy Research Methods in Assessing Need and Evaluating Outcomes in Community-Based Child and Family Service Systems

by Elan Melamid

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This research examines the roles that policy analysts and policy research may play in improving the effectiveness of systems of care serving at-risk children and their families. The author presents four separate analytic methodologies and discusses how they can be integrated to evaluate outcomes and improve the quality of service in community-based child and family social service systems. He explicitly examines the roles that rigorous policy research can play in such contexts and the limitations and challenges of applying these new analytic techniques in public social service settings. Finally, the author suggests areas in which policy researchers, systems managers, political leaders, clients, and community members might focus their work in the future.

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