Annual Child Maltreatment Report Shows Continuing Decrease in Abuse and Neglect Statistics

The annual report of child abuse and neglect statistics, Child Maltreatment 2009, was released this month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau. For the third year in a row, the report shows a decrease in the number and rate of child abuse and neglect victims. Data from states continue to indicate the greatest proportion of children suffered from neglect and that the 87,612 child victims younger than one year had the highest rate of victimization at 20.6 per 1,000 children in the population of the same age.

Data for the report—now in its 20th edition—are voluntarily submitted to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System by the 50 states, District of Columbia, and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Walter R. McDonald & Associates, Inc. has been the subcontractor for the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System since the project’s inception in 1988 and Dr. John Gaudiosi has been the Federal Project Officer for the past 12 and one-half years. Each year WRMA staff compile, validate, and analyze the data submitted by the states and U.S. territories. This year’s report was released four months earlier than previous editions. This shortened schedule will continue in the future.

To view the most recent report, Child Maltreatment 2009, click here.

Child Maltreatment Cover - 2009

To view previous versions of the report, click here.

WRMA Presents on SPARK and Ready Kids Follow-up at 2010 AEA Conference

WRMA presented “Evaluating Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK) & Ready Kids Follow-up (RKF): Embracing and informing truth, beauty, and justice” at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Evaluation Association (AEA). The conference, whose theme was Evaluation Quality, was held in San Antonio, Texas on November 10-13.

The panel described the evaluation process from SPARK to Ready Kids Follow-up. SPARK was a nation-wide school readiness initiative funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, while RKF examines school success for students enrolled in the SPARK programs. Panel members included WRMA’s Patrick A. Curtis, Ph.D., the Initiative Level Evaluator for SPARK and Principal Investigator for RKF, in addition to local evaluators from Hawaii, New Mexico, and Ohio. The panel discussed how the evaluation process evolved from individual designs using different measures for SPARK to adopting common measures across sites for RKF. The panel described the opportunities gained/lost from SPARK to RKF as well as challenges pertaining to evaluating programs with divergent designs in culturally complex communities.

WRMA to Evaluate Benefits Enrollment Coordination under Added Task on Existing OCS Contract

WRMA will perform an additional task on an existing contract with the Office of Community Services (OCS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Under the existing contract, WRMA analyzes data on the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program and provides technical assistance to OCS to improve data reporting. The additional task involves an evaluation of the implementation and outcomes of a benefits enrollment coordination demonstration project. Five nonprofit organizations received one-year Social Services and Income Maintenance Benefits Enrollment Coordination grants. Each grantee is expected to develop and implement evidence-based and innovative approaches for benefits enrollment coordination, outreach, and assistance. More information about the grants and a list of the grantees is available online WRMA will evaluate the implementation of the grants and selected outcomes associated with the demonstration projects. The evaluation will provide critical information on both the success and the challenges of implementing effective strategies to improve access and identify, screen, and enroll people who qualify for more than one benefit program under the Social Security Act. In addition, the evaluation will identify models for improving benefits coordination that could be strengthened and adapted for wider implementation.

WRMA Awarded HRSA Contract to Evaluate eICU Programs Providing Services to Rural Areas

WRMA will be providing an analysis and descriptive evaluation of the use of electronic intensive care units (eICU) in rural areas using a multiple case study design. Three eICU sites will be engaged in the study. WRMA will analyze the process and implementation of eICU technologies including facilitators and barriers to implementation, impact on staffing, issues regarding interoperability, and other technological challenges. Quality of care and cost issues also will be assessed. Examples include avoidance of transfer, reduction in length of stay, and comparative cost assessment. Funding for the project was provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Office of Rural Health Policy.

WRMA’s Evaluation of First 5 Sacramento Services to be Presented at Upcoming National Conferences

This year, WRMA will begin to present evaluation findings at national conferences from its three-year evaluation of First 5 Sacramento services. “Turning tobacco taxes into breastfeeding support services: Increases in longer-term breastfeeding from First 5 Sacramento’s Enhanced-Community Lactation Assistance Project” will be presented in the Maternal and Child section of the American Public Health Association Conference in November 2010.

School Readiness services also represent a major component of First 5 Sacramento services targeting children ages 0 to 5 years. A summary of WRMA’s comprehensive evaluation design of School Readiness services will be presented at the American Evaluation Association conference, also in November 2010 in a presentation titled, “Maintaining Validity in School Readiness Evaluation: A Multi-dimensional Approach in Methodology”. You can find more information here and here.

Social Services Block Grant Annual Report for 2008 Released

The Office of Community Services (OCS), Administration for Children and Families recently completed the Social Services Block Grant Annual Report 2008. The WRMA team works with the OCS to analyze the impact of the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program. SSBG provides flexible funding to assist States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories in providing a wide range of social services. Programs most frequently supported by the SSBG include child care, child welfare, services for persons with disabilities, home-based services, and protective services for adults. The annual report contains data on the number of adults and children served (recipients) and the amount expended for each service category (expenditures) in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It also provides analyses of expenditures of SSBG Supplemental Emergency Funds in FFY 2006, 2007, and 2008. The Social Services Block Grant Annual Report 2008 is available on the OCS website at

WRMA to Present at 2010 Annual Conference of National Association for Program Information and Performance Measurement (NAPIPM)

At this year’s Annual Conference of National Association for Program Information and Performance Measurement (NAPIPM), held August 29-September 1, 2010 in Boston, MA, WRMA staff will be presenting “Changes to the Error Rate Methodology for the Child Care Improper Payments Initiative: Stakeholder Input”. The purpose of the presentation is to examine proposed changes to the error rate review process for the Child Care Improper Payments Initiative (CCIPI) in order to obtain stakeholder input. Key findings from the first two years of national error rate measurement will be followed by a brief overview of the current methodology with a pinpointed comparison to the proposed changes along with data from a pilot study in five States to illustrate the impact on the error rate measures. Stakeholder input will be obtained on the proposed changes. Next a discussion of the implications for State practice and policy changes and data proficiencies resulting from corrective actions based on improper payments will be followed by a discussion of next steps.

WRMA Presents “Evaluating Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Initiative” at the Eastern Evaluation Research Society Conference

On April 19, 2010, Trenna Valado, Research Manager at WRMA, presented “Evaluating a Federal Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Initiative” at the Eastern Evaluation Research Society Conference in Galloway, New Jersey. She discussed the development and subsequent promotion of a CQI Progress Report developed as part of the National Evaluation of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The report uses information from the national evaluation to provide funded communities with performance data on 39 indicators grouped into five domains: (1) system level outcomes; (2) child and family outcomes; (3) satisfaction with services; (4) family and youth involvement; and (5) cultural and linguistic competence. Dr. Valado also discussed the ongoing evaluation of the CQI Initiative, which examines how communities are pursuing CQI and using the CQI Progress Report. Results from the evaluation will be shared with program partners and funded communities.

WRMA Selected to Evaluate First 5 Sacramento Services For Young Children and Their Families Through 2013

WRMA received the top score among proposals submitted to First 5 Sacramento to provide evaluation services, 2010 to 2013. Both the Evaluation Committee and the First 5 Sacramento Commission subsequently voted unanimously to select WRMA as the evaluator of services directed at young children and their families. The evaluation will include collecting client demographic and service information through a web-based data system. A longitudinal survey of randomly selected parents will provide the information to address most of the 37 indicators identified by the Commission to assess program effectiveness. A one-on-one assessment of pre-kindergarten children will also be used to examine outcomes of School Readiness services such as early math and vocabulary skills.

WRMA Awarded Add-On for SPARK3: Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids Initiative Third Grade Follow-up

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) has awarded Walter R. McDonald & Associates, Inc. a 12-month add-on to the Ready Kids Follow-up. The add-on is a study of children enrolled into the original Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK) initiative who have completed the third grade as of the spring on 2009. The purpose of the study is to assess the impact of the SPARK initiative on success in school.

A WRMA Principal Investigator leads the project with six site coordinators representing former SPARK grantees in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Ohio. Each site will collect standardized test results administered in the third grade for children formally enrolled in SPARK as well as results from selected comparison children. The project will also collect data on attendance and children’s status pertaining to eligibility for free and reduced lunch, disabilities, and special needs.