SWRC Current Projects
Applied Research in Child Welfare
The Applied Research in Child Welfare Project is a ten-year collaboration between the Social Work Research Center in the School of Social Work at Colorado State University, the Colorado Department of Human Services, and the Departments of Human Services in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Mesa, and Pueblo counties. The purpose of the ARCH Project is to conduct applied research on child welfare interventions that informs social work practice and policy in Colorado and the United States.
Completed Reports Available (all PDFs)
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- ARCH Caseworker Retention Survey Final Report (2018)*
- An Evaluation of Youth Services Trends and Outcomes in Colorado – Final Report (2016)*
- Adoption in Colorado’s Child Welfare System: A Study of Trends and Outcomes (2014)*
- ARCH Comparison of Public and Private Foster Care in Colorado (2012)*
- ARCH Predictors of Family Preservation Outcomes Study (2011)*
- ARCH Core Services Replication Study (2010)*
- Outcome Study of Out-of-Home Care in Colorado (2009)*
- Descriptive Study of Out-of-Home Care in Colorado (2008)*
- Core Services Outcome Study (2007)*
- Juvenile Sexual Offender Treatment: A Systematic Review of Evidence-Based Research (2006)*
- Child Welfare Outcomes in Colorado: A Matched Comparison between Children in Kinship and Foster Care (2006)*
- Kinship Care in Colorado: A Descriptive Study of 12 Counties (2005)*
- Kinship Care in the United States: A Systematic Review of Evidence-Based Research (2005)*
Family Integrated Treatment Court Evaluation
The Family Integrated Treatment Court was created to work with parents and children who have become involved with the Jefferson County Division of Children, Youth, and Families as a result of child abuse or neglect that is directly related to the parent’s substance abuse. FIT Court is based on a National Drug Court model and takes pride in incorporating Family Drug Court best practices. It is a voluntary, family-based program within the Dependency and Neglect System. The FIT Court is a collaborative effort that offers families the support, services, and treatment necessary to assist parents in establishing and maintaining sobriety while providing safety for their children. FIT Court strives to empower families to look beyond compliance and abstinence, encouraging them to make a commitment to a lifestyle of recovery.
The Social Work Research Center will conduct an outcome evaluation to compare FIT Court families and non-FIT Court families on time-in-care, permanency, child welfare re-involvement, and public health outcomes. SWRC will also design a cost-offset evaluation to compare FIT Court families and non-FIT Court families on actual service costs, case management costs, and county attorney costs.
Collaborative Management Program Evaluation
In 2004, the Colorado General Assembly passed House Bill 04-1451 (referred to as HB 1451) to establish collaborative management programs at the county level that would improve outcomes for children, youth, and families involved with multiple agencies. Research has demonstrated that interagency collaboration yields important benefits including: increased probability of improvement in child, youth, and family outcomes; maximization of available resources for the provision of services; increased coordination within and among service delivery systems; and shared responsibility across systems and service providers.
The Division of Child Welfare in the Office of Children, Youth, and Families at the Colorado Department of Human Services contracted with the Social Work Research Center in the School of Social Work at Colorado State University and 2M Research to serve as the evaluation team to conduct the evaluation of the Collaborative Management Program in Colorado.
Colorado Congregate Care Resiliency Opportunity Project
Seven counties (Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas Eagle, Jefferson, and Larimer) received a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Grant in 2016 to expand their trauma-informed child welfare practice. Each county is in varying stages of implementation, and the initial infrastructure for trauma screening, assessment, and services delivery is underway. All seven counties are working within their local communities to address barriers to service, communication needs, infrastructure development, and funding.
The purpose of the Colorado Children’s Congregate Care Resiliency Opportunity Project is to significantly reduce the number of children residing in congregate care. The primary goals are to; a) develop community trauma-informed resiliency based interventions for families to prevent children from entering congregate care, b) create new trauma-informed strategies to expedite the discharge of children currently in congregate care to reduce their length of stay and/or return to the community, and c) increase familial resiliency to prevent children from returning to congregate care once returned to the community.
The Social Work Research Center is conducting a process evaluation designed to: (1) To monitor program fidelity and training implementation, and (2) To track infrastructure, prevention, and promotion performance. The main goal of the outcome evaluation is to examine whether the community trauma-informed resiliency-based intervention produces the desired outcomes at all four levels targeted (i.e., system, service, caseworker, and child). Child outcomes will be compared across counties to investigate demonstration project effects across different locales. Efforts also will be made to examine outcomes across key characteristics of children (e.g., demographics, trauma history) to investigate which particular aspects of the intervention works best for whom.
Core Services Evaluation
The Core Services Program was established within the Colorado Department of Human Services in 1994 and is statutorily required to provide strength-based resources and support to families when children/youth are at imminent risk of out-of-home placement, in need of services to return home, or to maintain a placement in the least restrictive setting possible.
The Core Services Program is based on a foundation of research and practice in family preservation. Family preservation services are generally short-term services designed to support families in crisis by improving parenting and family functioning while keeping children/youth safe. These services were developed, in part, as a response to a federal requirement to demonstrate reasonable efforts to prevent removal of children from their homes. Family preservation services grew out of the recognition that children/youth need a safe and stable family and that separating children/youth from their families and communities removes them from natural supports and often causes trauma, leaving lasting negative effects.
The Core Services Program Evaluation report, produced by the Social Work Research Center in the School of Social Work at Colorado State University, is designed to describe the outcomes and costs of the Core Services Program across Colorado to provide meaningful data to support decisions made by the Office of Children, Youth, and Families, Division of Child Welfare, and county Core Services Programs.
SafeCare Colorado Evaluation
SafeCare® is an evidence-based in-home parent education program designed for at-risk families with children ages 0-5. It relies on behavior reinforcement, modeling, and skill practice, through staff observations and parent training developed from social learning theory. In 2013, SafeCare® was selected as part of a group of cornerstone prevention programs formed or expanded under Governor Hickenlooper’s master child welfare plan, “Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy 2.0”. The program is currently being implemented in 49 counties as a home-based, voluntary, and preventive program through community-based sites such as public health departments, family resource centers, and community health clinics. The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect support the implementation of SafeCare in Colorado through coaching, training, and technical assistance to program sites.
The Social Work Research Center serves as the independent evaluator of the SafeCare program in Colorado. The evaluation measures the implementation process, program outcomes, and costs using a mixed methods approach. Evaluation findings contributed to the creation of a pilot family advocacy program in four sites, which the SWRC has continued to evaluate. The Parents as Teachers and SafeCare at Home program, a braiding of two evidence-based parenting curriculum, has also been piloted in selected sites and is being evaluated by the SWRC.
Our partners include the Office of Early Childhood in the Colorado Department of Human Services, the Kempe Center, Parent Possible, and local agencies and child welfare departments throughout the state.