Research & Evaluation
Iowa Center for Evaluation & Research
DMC Resource Center

Research and evaluation - Recent Projects


Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV)
The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) supports pregnant women and families to improve the health and well-being of children. By electing to participate in one of these programs, new parents receive guidance from health, social service, and child development professionals. Under the Affordable Care Act, MIECHV is sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration. The evaluation tracks support to pregnant women and families and the help parents of children from birth to age 5 receive in gaining resources and developing parenting skills so that children are physically, socially and emotionally healthy and ready to learn.

Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health) Evaluation
Grounded in a public health approach, LAUNCH addresses the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and behavioral aspects of child development to create a shared vision for the wellness of young children. A key element of the program is coordination of child-serving systems and the integration of behavioral and physical health services. The result is for children to be thriving in safe, supportive environments and entering school ready to learn and able to succeed in school. Project LAUNCH is a federal program sponsored by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration and administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health to promote the health and well-being of young children from birth to age eight. The target area is families who live in inner city Des Moines and whose families are traditionally underserved due to income or minority status. The program is designed to support Young Child Wellness Councils to increase coordination of child-serving systems, build infrastructure and improve methods for providing services. The evaluation tracks improvement in family functioning, health and access to resources, improved delivery of services and coordination and collaboration of councils to more effectively meet the needs of children and families. Some of the instruments used in the evaluation are reproduced below:

Life Skills Progression
Ages and Stages Questionnaire - Social Emotional
Child Health and Development Record
Domestic Violence - Relationship Assessment Tool
Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory
Adverse Childhood Experience survey
Well Child Exam Schedule
Demographics: Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting

Family Support Statewide Database (FSSD) Evaluation
The Family Support Statewide Database was developed to help family serving agencies across track outcomes for families expecting a child or with children up to age five who are assisted through Iowa Department of Public Health sponsored evidence based programs. Tracking also provides benchmarks and performance measures for the requirements of the Early Childhood Iowa State Board for all family support programs.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Crisis Center Follow-Up Project Evaluation
Each year, thousands of Americans call crisis centers across the country to seek the help of a mental health counselor. The Crisis Center Follow-Up project promotes follow up contact with at-risk individuals to provide continuity of care, coordinate services, and develop collaborations between emergency departments and other health care professionals. Evaluation of these services is conducted in collaboration with the service provider, Foundation II, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

CVAD Restitution Assessment
Crime victims are often subject to more than just physical and mental distress, including costly bills for injuries, counseling, and court.  To remedy this situation in the state of Iowa, the Office of the Attorney General sponsors the Crime Victim Compensation program which helps victims with out-of-pocket expenses related to crime.  The Iowa Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division received a three year grant to study and improve the process of awarding and collecting restitution for these crime victims, which will be completed by the National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice.  The first phase of the project is a comprehensive, statewide needs assessment intended to gather experiences of various court personnel, victim advocates, and other stakeholders across the state to help identify gaps and critical challenges in the ordering and collection of restitution.  Objectives for years two and three of the project are to develop strategies based on the findings from the needs assessment.

Evaluation of the Impact of Home Energy Assistance Services
Homeowners across the country utilize energy assistance measures such as weatherization and low income heating assisting programs to save money and reduce environmental impact.  People Working Cooperatively (PWC) in Cincinnati provides professional home weatherization and whole house services for low income homeowners who are elderly or disabled to save energy, money and stay in their homes. Evaluation of the impact of  home energy assistance services sponsored by the Department of Energy was designed to determine the relative benefits of three services (whole house with energy assistance, whole house without energy assistance, energy assistance only). Effects of PWC services were measured for housing and home condition, mobility and accessibility, energy security, financial benefits, ability to care for children, improved health and safety, stress reduction and increased community involvement.

Connecting Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care to Centers for Working Families at Community Colleges Evaluation
A post-secondary credential has become increasingly important in today’s economy and one of the critical pathways out of poverty. Young adults aging out of foster care are at particular risk of both not enrolling in post-secondary education and not completing a post-secondary course of study due to multiple barriers. The project is designed to connect youth currently involved with the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative to Centers for Working Families (CWF) sites based at two community colleges. The National Resource Center for Family Centered practice is currently conducting the evaluation of this program.  The evaluation provides web-based tracking from counselor input of key data elements for the project such as strong connections to workforce development, asset building/financial education and access to income supports that will help transitioning youth stay in school and lead to living wage employment and financial stability. Students participating in enriched Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative’s to Centers for Working Families (CWF) services have achieved increased retention, which is up to 20 percentage points higher than similar non-participating students.

Organizational Effectiveness Training and Technical Assistance Evaluation Program
One of Iowa’s largest child welfare service providers is Children & Families of Iowa (CFI), a multi-program private non-profit with programs for providing mental health and child welfare services. In an effort to improve services for over 21,000 individuals across Iowa, CFI works with The University of Iowa School of Social Work, National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice (NRCFCP) to conduct performance monitoring and evaluation. Goals and indicators were developed using a participatory model involving the Board of Directors, program managers and information from program participants. Quarterly results assist program staff in their efforts to strengthen practice, improve programs and demonstrate outcomes to funding sources, the Board of Directors and other community stakeholders. An annual workshop provided participants with information that will result in their ability to: 1) articulate how to effectively collaborate to build an effective outcome evaluation system, 2) design a multi-level agency-wide outcome measures strategy and 3) understand key elements in sustaining an agency-wide system. 

Native Families for Native Children
Native American children face unique challenges within the child welfare system and are oftentimes underserved due to lack of training and resources.  The NF4NC (Native Families for Native Children) project is built upon cooperation and collaboration among the NF4NC child welfare partners to help workers in four Tribal communities recruit, train, license, and support Native resource families in the traditions of their communities. The current foster/adoptive parent and kinship care training is being revised and tested to ensure more cultural responsiveness and effectiveness for Native people; native trainers from the program sites will be trained to conduct foster/adoptive/kinship care training, support community leaders, and serve as consultants to agencies that are interested in replication. The National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice serves as the evaluation agency for the tribes and states to gather and report information from which Tribal and State child welfare systems can learn.

 Professional & Home Care Aide Statewide Training Program (PHCAST) Curriculum Evaluation
The purpose of the PHCAST program is to recruit and train individuals as qualified personal and home care aides in occupational shortage and/or high demand areas. There is an increasing need for qualified home care aides specialized fields including geriatric, mental health and disability care.  To reduce this shortage and to encourage workers to stay in the field, PHCAST was designed to provide new and continuing education to direct care professionals. The training is intended to develop core competencies in these fields. In 2012 the Iowa legislature adopted recommendations of the Direct Care Worker Advisory Council for standardized training and credentialing of the direct care workforce. The evaluation monitored workforce changes (e.g., satisfaction, retention and turnover) and conducted assessments to measure the effectiveness of the curriculum and training curriculum on knowledge and use of that knowledge in practice.  

Iowa Comprehensive Cancer Control Consortium Evaluation
The burden of cancer affects almost every Iowan.  To reduce the impact of the disease, the Iowa Comprehensive Cancer Control Evaluation combines community resources across the state to prevent cancer, identify cancer in its earliest stages, improve access and quality of cancer treatments and improve quality of life among those impacted by cancer.  The annual evaluation of the CCCC focuses on satisfaction of membership, outcomes of ICCCC projects including the Care for Yourself program, Iowa Get Screened colon cancer prevention project and monitors cost through determining the return on investment for the Healthy Families Line and tracking results for a small media campaign intended to increase mammography rates.

Chronic Disease Partnership Evaluation
The Chronic Disease Partnership is a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supporting statewide implementation of cross-cutting approaches to promote health and prevent and control chronic diseases and their risk factors. The focus of the program is on four key health areas: Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity and School Health. The Chronic Disease Partnership is a program which conducts chronic disease prevention, treatment and monitoring activities to promote positive health outcomes for preventable diseases. The programs under evaluation are intended to prevent and monitor efforts to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, reduce diabetes and heart disease/stroke.

Supportive Housing and Child Welfare Evaluation
Homeless children often enter the welfare system at an early age due to a lack of family unity and stable housing. Partners United for Supportive Housing in Cedar Rapids (PUSH-CR) is one of five projects in the country which aims to develop, implement, and evaluate an evidence-based service approach to supporting homeless families who are also involved with child welfare services. The project will provide housing and supportive services to 125 homeless families over the course of five years with the key goals of attaining housing stability, preventing out-of-home placement, and facilitating reunification between children in foster care and their families. The National Resource Center is conducting an implementation and outcome evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the project using data derived from a randomized experiment.  The study will provide recommendations for the program based on housing, support services, placement, reunification, and child maltreatment data.

Family Support Workforce Study

Iowa’s family support systems cannot succeed without a strong, educated family support workforce.  A statewide study of Iowa’s family support workforce is currently underway, which seeks to gain a greater understanding of the family support workforce and its organizational contexts, to assess changes in the workforce and impact of supervision training, and to measure the relationship between workforce issues and family support outcomes. The overall goal of this multi-year effort is to strengthen the workforce and to improve the quality of family support services.  Evaluation was conducted through multiple surveys which were distributed among family support providers in direct service, supervisory, and administrative roles.  The survey will determine areas of growth for the workforce overall, including areas such as language fluency and salary.  

Improving Recruitment and Retention in Public Child Welfare [Read more]
This is a five-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Childrens Bureau.   The project created supervisory training and supervisor/worker team-building training to all public child welfare employees in the state of Iowa.  (2003-2008)

Improving Outcomes for Youth in Transition [Read more]
This is a three-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Childrens Bureau.   The project is a training program for public child welfare supervisors to improve outcomes for older youth in transition from foster care to independent living.  (2006-2009).

Evaluation of Iowa's Title IV-E Waiver for Subsidized Guardianship [Read more]

This project was an evaluation of the implementation, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness of Iowa's subsidized guardianship program.  Youth meeting the eligibility criteria based on age and permanency status were randomly assigned to an experimental group that had the option of subsidized guardianship or a control group that did not have this option. The project was supported by the Iowa Department of Human Services and the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2007 - 2009).

DMC Resource Center & Minority Youth and Families Initiative [Read more]dmc small logo

Nationally, minority juveniles in secure detention are greatly over-represented compared to their proportion in the general population. In Iowa, a third of youth held in juvenile detention facilities are minority even though they make up only eight percent of the state's youth population. The DMC Resource Center works statewide with communities to address issues related to the high rate of minority confinement and contact, including community involvement, developing local youth programs, and assisting in the collection and analysis of DMC related data. In 2004 the DMC Resource Center also began work on over-representation in the child welfare system. For more information see the MYFI section of the DMC Resource Center.  (2002-2006)

Quality Improvement for Early Care, Health and Education Programs: Benton County Kindergarten Readiness[read more]

rk oThe results of the study indicate that social-emotional development can facilitate or decrease achievement on early literacy tests. Schools and PreK schools, "must attend to this aspect of the educational process for the benefit of all students" (Zins et al, 2004). As previous research has reported "When schools implement high quality social-emotional learing programs effectively, the academic achievement of children increases, incidences of problem behaviors decrease, and the relationships that surround each child are improved" (Elias, 2003; Richardson et al., 2005). In the context of the No Child Left Behind Act, emphasis on academic achievement needs to be balanced with social-emotional learning. Similar to Gewertz (2003) we conclude that "a deliberate and comprehensive approach to teaching children social and emotional skills can raise their grades and test scores, bolster their enthusiasm for learning, [and] reduce behavior problems...".

Clinton Community School District (CCSD) Elementary School Counselor Program

This is a three-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Education to support development of a Systems of Care Network within the Clinton Community School District in Eastern Iowa. The project is designed to meet the needs of all elementary students and their families along a continuum of need. Four targeted elementary schools are offering enhanced developmentally-appropriate and culturally-sensitive services through a solution-focused counseling program, teacher training and other capacity building initiatives. The NRCFCPconducted the evaluation of the project and is worked with project staff to improve services. Click here for a Prevention Report article about the project or click here for a recent report from focus groups conducted with parents, students and school staff. (2004-2007) [read more]

Evaluation of Abstinence Only Education in Iowa [2007 Report]
This project of the Iowa Department of Health, funded through the federal 510 Abstinence Education program, is implementing five education pilots demonstrating the use of abstinence education to prevent adolescent pregnancy.  (2003-2007) Previous reports can be found at: Recently Completed Projects; and recent reports are available here: 2006 Report 2005 Report 2004 Final Report or 2004 Executive Summary.

Evaluation of Iowa's Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Programs

This statewide evaluation includes prevention, intervention and community programs addressing reduction of teen pregnancy. The NRC has been evaluating these programs since 1997. Annual reports since 2003 are available by clicking on the report year below:

Iowa Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration Project (2007 Report)

The Iowa Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration project was intended to build the capacity of Iowa faith-based organizations (FBOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) seeking to better serve Iowans in need. The project is a part of a federal initiative in response to an executive order from the President of the United States to strengthen the capacity of FBOs/CBOs (FBCOs) in order to better address the needs of America’s local communities. The program evaluation focused on the extent to which the project:

  • Enhanced and expanded the knowledge base of Iowa’s small, grassroots FBCOs;
  • Provided sub-grant awards to FBCOs through an open competitive RFP;
  • Provided a system of training and technical assistance (T/TA) in the areas of leadership development, organizational development, programs and services, funding, and community engagement
  • Encouraged and facilitated replication with developing grassroots FBCOs; and

Evaluation of Strengthening Communities - Youth
Four out of every 5 youth (ages12-18) in our nation with a drug or alcohol problem are not receiving treatment. The SCY Project is intended to address this unmet need. The evaluation is part of the Institute for Strengthening Communities and includes a web-based MIS with a host of on-line family assessments (e.g., FACES, Issues Checklist) which is coordinated with assessments using the Global Assessment of Individual Needs (GAIN). High rates of recruitment and retention have also been achieved (click here for draft R & R Manual). An ongoing assessment of local community collaboration through network analyses of local agencies designed to facilitate a strengthened community systems of care for identification, screening and assessment, referral and treatment of youth is integrated into the project. To view a recent presentation on the project at the Joint Meeting on Adolescent Treatment Effectiveness in Washington, DC, [click here] (2002-2007)

Evaluation of the Broward County Family Success Center Family Dev. Program

The focus of the evaluation was to document processes and measure effectiveness of the family development model as it has been implemented in Broward County Florida. The outcomes of strategies employed by staff and families, the process by which outcomes were achieved and understanding of how the model has worked, where it may be refined, and what lessons have been learned that can inform replication in other Centers is provided in the report. A second focus of the evaluation was to measure and make recommendations for improving community collaboration to reduce fragmentation and foster a more coordinated, comprehensive service delivery system enhancing program effectiveness. [Final Report].

Evaluation of Community Decision-Making for Permanency
Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the State of Iowa Court Improvement Project is conducting a demonstration project in six communities around the state. The project is working with these communities to facilitate a decision-making process to select and implement alternative dispute resolution in child welfare cases. NRC is conducting an independent process and outcome evaluation. (2001-2004)

Evaluation of Lean on Me
Funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, this project of the Community Corrections Improvement Association of Linn County is conducting a peer mentoring program to address high risk behaviors among middle school-aged youth. NRC is conducting an independent evaluation of this project. (2002-2004)

Evaluation of Iowa CareGivers Association's Certified Nurse Assistant Mentor Training Project [2002 Report]
This evaluation examines the effectiveness of the Iowa CareGivers Association CNA Mentoring Program specifically as a means of worker retention. NRC is conducting an independent evaluation of this project. (2002-2004)

Social Network Analysis of the Scott County (IA) DMC (Disproportionate Minority Contact) Network
This project provides a look at the relationships between the agencies that make up the Scott County DMC Provider Network and how they change over time.  These activities are part of the technical assistance offered through the NRC as the DMC Resource Center in Iowa. (2003-2004)

Evaluation of the Iowa Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration ProjectThe Iowa Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration Project was implemented in Iowa as Compassion Iowa (CI). Its purpose was to build and enhance the capacity of Iowa faith-based organizations (FBOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) seeking to better serve Iowans in need. Direct technical assistance, professional training and sub-grant awards were used to improve organizational capacity in the five critical areas: leadership development, organizational development, programs and services, funding, and community engagement. The evaluation plan included description of how the project was implemented and operated, how the original design was followed and the extent of adaptations to the proposed strategies. Documentation established a written record of the approach which others may then adopt with fidelity, or adapt to meet local needs. To access the final report click here.

Evaluation of the Johnson County Early Learning Initiative

Working with the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County (IA), the NRCFCP is evaluating this project funded by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Child Care Bureau (CCB) through the Early Opportunity Learning Act (ELOA). The JCELI targets educational and health outcomes for young children from birth to age 5 and prepares them for a successful school experience through a community education campaign, provider training and support, and early childhood services and interventions. (2004-2006). To access the final evaluation report click here.

Evaluation of Pregnancy Prevention and Abstinence Only Education [Read more]
This project of the Iowa Department of Health implemented four education pilots and two community pilots demonstrating the use of abstinence education to prevent adolescent pregnancy. (1998-2003). The 2005 evaluation report contains the most recent research and evaluation related to the Iowa adolescent pregnancy prevention and abstinence-only education projects.

Broadway Neighborhood Revitalization Project [Read more]

The NRC is collaborating with the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County to conduct a community assessment and produce a community development plan for the Broadway Street Neighborhood. With major funding from Southgate Development, Inc., door-to-door interviews of approximately 400 neighborhood residents are currently underway.

Network Guide to Measuring Family Development Outcomes [Read more]
The Network Guide documents a variety of exemplary approaches and describes how these approaches work. Lessons learned are provided for identification, implementation, use, reporting and improvement of outcomes of family development programs. (2002-2003)

Evaluation of Polk County (IA) Wraparound Project for African American Adolescents
[Read more]
Funded by the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this project engaged the community in a consensus building and planning process to evaluate the feasibility of implementing the Wraparound service model for African American adolescents with co-occurring mental disorders and substance abuse disorders. (2002-2003)

Evaluation of South Santa Clara County (CA) Wraparound Project for Latino Children and Youth [Read more]
Funded by the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this project engaged the community in a consensus building and planning process to develop a Wraparound Model and evaluate the feasibility of implementing the Wraparound service model for Latino children and adolescents with co-occurring mental disorders and substance abuse disorders. (2002-2003)

Social Network Analysis of Collaboration among Service Network Providers for the Iowa Strengthening Communities – Youth (SCY) Project
Funded through SAMHSA, this project assessed the Iowa SCY system of care network of agencies and the effect that the startup of the SCY project had on the relationships within the network of service providers. (2002 Report). The SCY project also produced a manual for maximizing recruitment and retention of study participants [click here] who engaged in the practice called Strengths Oriented Family Therapy or SOFT.

Automated Assessment of Family Progress

Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services through a grant to the Iowa Community Action Association, this project has developed an automated system for measuring outcomes of Community Action Agencies. The system is operational in all CAAs in the state of Iowa. Technical assistance in learning how to use the database was provided by the NRC. (1999-2002)

Evaluation of the Iowa Wraparound Project for Latino Children and Youth
Funded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration this evaluation includes process and outcomes measures of community consensus building to implement an exemplary intervention practice. (2000-2002)

Local Outcomes Technical Assistance for Boone and Dallas Counties (IA)

This project provided technical assistance to community collaboratives in Boone and Dallas counties in developing outcome measures and reporting systems. (2001-2002)

Evaluation of the Clinton Substance Abuse Council Drug Free Communities Initiative

Funded by the Federal Drug Free Communities grant, this evaluation includes network analysis of collaboration building and outcome measures of community based programs providing intervention services. (2001-2002)

Evaluation of the Life Options Program

As part of the federally funded Des Moines Success Program, the Life Options Program is continuing in the Des Moines Community School District. This program model, developed by Michael Carerra, seeks to prevent adolescent pregnancy by providing high-risk youth with a variety of educational, health, and recreational supports. (2000-2002)

Evaluation of the Family Strengthening Cooperative Agreement
Funded by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, this study evaluated the implementation and outcomes of the Community Corrections Improvement Association. (1999-2001)

Validation of the California State University Monterey Bay/Packard Foundation

Empirical assessment of the reliability and validity of the California Family Development Matrix Model. (1999-2001)

Evaluation of the Healthy Start Cooperative Agreement
Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Maternal and Child Health, Healthy Start sought to improve health outcomes for infants and mothers in a targeted high-risk area in the city of Des Moines. Healthy Start implemented three primary components: case management, service facilitation (through transportation, childcare, and translation services), and consortium development. The evaluation included tracking of key performance indicators over time, analysis of case specific data, consumer satisfaction, network analysis of interagency collaboration, and cost analysis. (1997-2001)

Local Outcomes Technical Assistance Project
Funded by the Iowa Department of Human Services, this project is providing technical assistance to more than 25 community collaboratives around the state in developing outcome measures and reporting systems. (1999-2000)

Evaluation of the Life Options Program at Casady Alternative School
The Des Moines Public Schools, with funding from multiple community foundations, implemented the Life Options model at an alternative school. This program model, developed by Michael Carerra, seeks to prevent adolescent pregnancy by providing high-risk youth with a variety of educational, health, and recreational supports. A quasi-experimental design was implemented to compare youth in the Life Options program with a group of youth from other schools in the community. (1997-2000)

Mediation for Permanency Project
This demonstration project, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services' Adoption Opportunities Program, was conducted by the Iowa Department of Human Services in collaboration with Family Resources, Inc. and Four Oaks, Inc., two private nonprofit agencies in Iowa. The project used mediation to resolve conflicts in child welfare cases in situations involving out of home placement, permanency hearing, and termination of parental rights. (1997-2000, Report)

For more information on Research & Evaluation contact:
Brad Richardson, Research Director
Research Scientist & Adj. Assoc. Professor
(319) 335-4924

Kellee Thorburn McCrory, MPH
Iowa Center for Evaluation Research

The University of Iowa School of Social Work
National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice
100 MTP4, Room 162
Iowa City, IA 52242-5000

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