Evaluation of Improving Child Welfare Outcomes through Systems of Care

The goal of this project was to develop an evaluation process to determine whether a community-based, interagency Systems of Care (SOC) could effectively achieve positive outcomes for children and families involved with child welfare agencies and their partner agencies. The Center partnered with the N.C. Division of Social Services, county-level departments of social services, other contractors and families for the project. Analysis of data from both the SOC and Multiple Response System (MRS) evaluations has shown that implementing MRS and SOC simultaneously not only enhanced the implementation of MRS, but also provided positive outcomes for children, families and communities. Of the 10 pilot counties involved in the MRS evaluation, three were also involved in the concurrent SOC evaluation.

A comparison of the data has shown enhanced outcomes in the SOC counties in several important areas:

  1. Child and Family Team meetings;
  2. community collaboration; and
  3. reducing duplication of services, effort and time.

Results from these two evaluations showed that SOC has expanded far beyond the Division of Social Services, creating a community system that not only values child and family partnership and strengths-based care, but also interagency collaboration, community-based services and supports for families, cultural competence and accountability to results.