HHS Establishes National Center on Child Care Subsidy Innovation and Accountability with WRMA

The National Center on Child Care Subsidy Innovation and Accountability (NCCCSIA) was recently established through the award of a contract to Walter R. McDonald & Associates, Inc. (WRMA), by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Child Care (OCC). The NCCCSIA will provide technical support to Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) Lead Agencies to foster continued progress toward innovation and reform in child care subsidy systems. It will also be responsible for helping Lead Agencies to focus their efforts on subsidy administration in a manner that supports early childhood education and family-friendly goals while maintaining program integrity. WRMA is the prime contractor on this project and has subcontracted with AFYA, Inc. to handle the production and dissemination of technical assistance materials and other reports.

WRMA to Examine Child Fatality Review Teams

Recognizing the need to further coordinate fatality reviews and establish best practices to support a coordinated and collaborative review process in many jurisdictions, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) has awarded Walter R. McDonald & Associates, Inc.(WRMA), in partnership with the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths (NCRPCD), a 1-year contract to review and analyze recommendations and outcomes of these child fatality review teams (CFRTs) as they work together at the local and State levels. WRMA will classify the recommendations; identify those made jointly with other fatality review teams; and report on the impact of such recommendations on practice, policy, and legislation. An analysis of best and promising collaboration practices will also be conducted among CFRTs and other related fatality review entities including Citizen Review Panels (CRPs), Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence Fatality Review Boards (DV/IPV FRBs), and Fetal and Infant Mortality Reviews (FIMRs). All types of deaths of children, especially young children, and their causes will be examined with a goal of identifying key elements for an integrated fatality review system for preventing deaths and serious injury of children, youth, and families involved, or at risk of involvement, with child protective services (CPS).

WRMA Releases Reports on Outcomes Associated with Early Childhood Education and Health Services

WRMA’s three-year evaluation of First 5 Sacramento services has culminated into two recently released reports. The first report discusses the implementation of four distinct methodologies to evaluate School Readiness services: (1) A standardized assessment examined pre-kindergarten-aged children’s early math, language, and vocabulary skills; (2) a survey of teachers assessed randomly selected children’s social and emotional development; (3) a parent survey measured changes over time in activities with children and levels of stress and emotional support; and (4) outcomes such as parent involvement in the classroom and teachers’ beliefs and attitudes were documented and compared with best practices. The second report presents outcomes from a three-year longitudinal survey of randomly selected parents. Bi-lingual, trained field interviewers administered the survey instrument to assess service utilization in relation to breastfeeding duration, effective parenting practices, access and utilization of medical and dental services, and other outcomes. The report also discusses the demographic characteristics and services received by the 34,000 children and 27,000 parents recruited for the evaluation over the three-year period.

For more information on First 5 Sacramento, please click here.

NCANDS Team Presents Data at Successful Children’s Bureau Webinar

The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) Technical Team members presented highlights and expanded data analyses from the most recent Child Maltreatment report during a Children’s Bureau webinar to 373 participants. The webinar titled Child Maltreatment 2010: Key Findings and Additional Analyses was held February 29, 2012. Bryan Samuels, the commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families was the keynote speaker and Catherine Nolan, the director of the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect moderated the presentation on behalf of the Children’s Bureau.

The NCANDS Technical Team members discussed such key data facts from the report as the number of CPS responses, the number and demographics child victims and fatalities, and the types of maltreatment. Expanded analyses included the percent change over time of children who were exposed to domestic violence in the home and the percent change over time of the rate of first-time victims. In addition, team members discussed three research topics: 1) the effect of alternative response programs on CPS, 2) observations about child deaths gleaned from data and State commentary, and 3) the patterns of report sources in NCANDS data. The recorded webinar and related materials are retrievable from the Child Maltreatment Data page on the National Resource Center for Child Protective Services website.

The Child Maltreatment report series presents national data about child abuse and neglect known to CPS agencies in the United States. Child Maltreatment 2010 was released during December by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau. Data for the report are voluntarily submitted to by the 50 States, District of Columbia, and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Walter R. McDonald & Associates, Inc. has been the subcontractor for the NCANDS since the project’s inception in 1988 and Dr. John Gaudiosi has been the Federal Project Officer since 1998.

To view the webinar slides, handouts, or listen to an audio recording of the webinar, click here.

To view the most recent report, Child Maltreatment 2010, click here.

To view previous versions of the report, click here.

WRMA Presents at Annual HIMSS Conference

Dr. Lois A. Ritter, a WRMA Research Manager, made a presentation at the 2011 Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS11) conference—held in Orlando, FL and attended by over 31,000 healthcare professionals—in a special session titled “Beyond the Edge”. This topic was one of 12 presentations selected for these special sessions where innovative uses of health information technology were highlighted. Co-presenting with Dr. Ritter was Dave Bloch, MA, of VirtuAlameda.

Dr. Ritter discussed how the three-dimensional (3-D) virtual world platform Second Life® (SL) is being used in healthcare, as well as methods for using this technology to conduct research. SL is an online virtual reality world where users create visual representations of themselves, called avatars, and interact within a simulated 3-D environment. These avatars can become animated and communicate with each other verbally and through virtual body language, thereby simulating real world communication. In a healthcare capacity, SL has features for disseminating health information, training health professionals, and enabling patient and consumer education for both academic and commercial health behavior research. It is a rich source of data for researchers and provides a safe haven where research participants can easily remain anonymous. (However, there are certain challenges associated with conducting research in such an environment, such as gaining consent.)

The presenters explained and illustrated, through SL examples, various educational modalities and ways to collect data. The presentation included a pre-recorded cancer survivors’ support group organized by the American Cancer Society. They also explored in-world places such as Club One, Virtual Abilities Island, and a post-traumatic stress disorder site for veterans.

Results to Statewide Telemedicine Evaluation Published

The results of the four-year statewide telemedicine study conducted by WRMA have been published in the peer-reviewed journal, Californian Journal of Health Promotion. WRMA was contracted with The California Endowment (The Endowment) to evaluate the California Telemedicine and eHealth Center (CTEC), Telemedicine, and eHealth Network Development project. CTEC’s strategic efforts for 2004 through 2009 focused on building telemedicine and eHealth capacity and competency among providers, increasing access to specialty care, decreasing the digital divide as it relates to healthcare services, and improving access to quality care for California’s rural and underserved populations.

To view the results article, click here.