Research & Evaluation Services
CCRC’s highly skilled and professional Research & Evaluation staff ensure optimal services for families and children by providing internal and external stakeholders with useful tools and information that can be used for program evaluation, forecasting and strategic planning, contract compliance, and advocacy.
Products and Services
Logic Modeling/Program Design
The Research Department facilitates the development of logic models and other program design tools. Developing a logic model or theory of change is the first step toward articulating a new project or program. The development process allows all stakeholders to reach a common understanding of a program’s intended impact, as well as the activities, staffing needs, and supplies to operate the program. The logic model process also involves articulating the benchmarks and other measurements that will be used to gauge program effectiveness.
Evaluation of Existing Observational Data
The Research Department assists organizations with the analysis of and reporting on data from child observations (e.g., Desired Results Developmental Profiles, Environmental Rating Scales, the CLASS, and the Ages and Stages Questionnaires). The Research Department is able to take data in raw or database form and develop meaningful reports based on those observational measures.
The Research Department can work with clients to develop one-sheet informational briefs that can be used to develop funding requests, educate policymakers and communicate with key stakeholders.
Focus groups provide invaluable qualitative data for any agency. The Research Department works with clients to develop focus groups that can help inform program design; provide real-time feedback on existing programs; or evaluate the effect of a past program. The Research Department manages all aspects of focus group implementation, including recruitment, facilitation, analysis, and reporting.
Surveys offer clients the opportunity to obtain valuable data on program impact and client satisfaction. The Research Department works with its clients to design surveys that measure the outcomes of interest to agency staff and funders. Research Department Staff is equipped to support one or every aspect of the survey process, from designing the survey to identifying survey recipients. The Research Department tailors the survey type – hard copy or electronic, for example – to meet the unique needs of the client.
GIS (Geographic Information System) Mapping
GIS mapping helps organizations communicate critical information to legislators, community members and other stakeholders in a straightforward and visually interesting manner. The Research Department works with clients to translate service data into compelling visuals; data can include the locations of clients served, program dollars by district, program changes over time, etc.
The Research Department offers professional community assessments for any project. Methods can include analyzing existing data on relevant topics, conducting focus groups or surveys, asset mapping or GIS mapping.
Do children in the Child Welfare system have access to quality Early Care and Education programs?
CCRC’s partnership with the Children’s Data Network revealed that greater than 1 in 4 children in ECE settings were involved with the Child Welfare system. Of these children, 3 out of 4 had ECE experience prior to their involvement with Child Welfare. This could point to providers as mandated reporters and a critical protective environment. It could also mean that we need to improve the referral system from Child Welfare to ECE programs as well as funding for child care based on these referrals. Finally, a significant number of children are funded through the TANF-based and Head Start child care programs. While TANF-based programs can support parents who work non-traditional hours and Head Start can support families in need of comprehensive services for traumatized children, these systems are difficult to navigate for eligibility. Thus, the need for a child care navigator is critical.
How do we allocate resources to better serve vulnerable children without data?
Although we know that the same children are served by multiple public systems, there is little information on the timing or nature of these service encounters. CCRC’s partnership with the Children’s Data Network is a pilot to link data systems across Child Welfare and Early Care and Education. However, CCRC’s data represents only approximately 11.8% of the children in Los Angeles County. The California Department of Education has developed an efficient and effective method for collecting standardized data on the children served by all of their contracted agencies throughout California. By linking data across Child Welfare and Early Care and Education systems, those counties that are interested in using their Title IV-E funding for child care for children in the Child Welfare system will be able to do so.
How do we ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of vulnerable children?
Lack of child care has been identified as a significant barrier to effective placements of children with relative caregivers and other resource families, particularly for children age 0-5 years. CCRC is partnering with Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services to design a pilot program with the following components:
- Funding for child care for resource parents to take a foster child age 0-5 years
- Training in trauma-informed care and on-going coaching support for child care providers
- Child Care Navigator to match the resource family with the provider and to navigate the complex systems of Child Welfare and Early Care and Education (ECE) to ensure stability of child care
- System for regular communication between ECE and Child Welfare
- Research to demonstrate the need, outcomes and policy implications
This team of fearless innovators is led by Dr. Susan Savage. Under her leadership, CCRC’s research and evaluation program has earned a reputation for excellence in serving the program development and evaluation needs of programs throughout California. Dr. Savage is skilled in directing large-scale projects that include both quantitative and qualitative methods as well as data collection and management over large geographic areas. She also has extensive experience in contract monitoring and agency self-evaluation, grant writing, and social policy development. Through collaborative grant-writing, she has been able to garner over $12,000,000 in the last 10 years in program funding.
Dr. Savage is an accomplished public speaker; throughout her career, she has given presentations at national, statewide, and local conferences and has contributed to numerous academic publications.
Unique Value Proposition
CCRC’s Research staff are committed to providing clients with the highest quality services and deliverables. We have a unique value proposition, which serves to distinguish it from other service providers:
- We serve low-income children and families
- We work with diverse populations
- We are inclusive
- We work throughout California and across the nation
Over the past ten years, the department has undertaken multiple evaluation initiatives that include:
- Compiling advocacy data specific to legislative districts to help legislators make informed policy decisions regarding early care and education.
- Conducting annual evaluations of program impact and compliance for the California Department of Education, Department of Public and Social Services CalWORKs program, Resource & Referral program, and more.
- Providing program evaluation data to Head Start for use in program improvement and reporting to the Administration for Children and Families and the Los Angeles County Office of Education.
- Collecting eight-plus years of service data and compiling reports on program impact for CCRC’s First 5 LA-funded School Readiness Initiative Program.
- Evaluating county-wide programs such as the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health funded Child Care Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness Pilot Project, the Los Angeles Universal Preschool/First 5 LA funded Gateways program for Early Educators, and the Los Angeles Department of Public Health Los Angeles' Choose Health LA: Child Care program.
- Developing successful grant proposals to the United Way, the California Community Foundation, First 5 Los Angeles, Administration for Children and Families, and the Los Angeles County Public Health Department/Center for Disease Control, among others.
Gateways for Early Educators™ Program
The Gateways for Early EducatorsTM, program funded by LAUP and First 5 LA, provided impactful quality improvement activities to the early care and education field by providing coaching and training from 2011 to 2016. In 2015-2016, 3,832 child care providers participated in professional development trainings and 1,015 participants received individualized coaching. Participants had an increase in knowledge and improved quality practices. This paper evaluates the importance of key elements of coaching such as relationship-building, goal setting, modeling, professional groups, and coaching intensity on participant knowledge and quality practices and provides information on the reach and impact of the program from 2011 to 2016.
Choose Health LA Child Care
From October 2013 to June 2016, the Choose Health LA Child Care program offered nutrition and physical activity training to 5,853 early care and education professionals and one-on-one coaching to 2,323 licensed center- and home-based child care providers, equipping providers with the knowledge, tools, and technical support to instill healthy habits in the children in their care. This Infographic depicts the program’s achievements from 2013 to 2016 and the Informational Brief describes the reach and impact of the program.
To measure the impact of training and coaching with the participating child care providers, a Policies and Practices Self-Assessment Questionnaire was collected. During the 2015-2016 program year statistically significant increases were found in various areas including:
• Parents are provided information on their child's nutrition and physical activity while in child care.
• Parents receive written nutrition and physical activity policies upon enrollment.
• Special occasions and holidays are celebrated with healthy foods or with non-food treats.
• Staff participated in physical activities with children.
In addition, 20% to 62% of providers reported positive change in the foods they serve in their programs. The greatest challenges child care providers reported in creating healthy practices or routines in their child care programs included a lack of support from parents, and not enough money, training or equipment to make the changes. The majority of child care providers reported that parents were generally positive about the rules and guidelines for healthy practices of their program and about a third of providers saw an increased interest in their program because of positive changes they made to their program. This paper provides detailed findings from the Policies and Practices Self-Assessment Questionnaire.
The 2014 Legislative Book highlights some of the many programs and services offered in CCRC’s 23,000 square mile service area including subsidized child care, Head Start, and child care resource and referral. The significant economic impact of child care is evident in the child care investments and the ability of parents to earn a living. Resource and referral is the foundation upon which other services are built including resource libraries, school readiness, family literacy programs, and child care quality improvement programs. Maps of child care providers and child care recipients illustrate the wide-spread impact of CCRC services.
Funding from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health allowed the Los Angeles County Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to convene and assess their capacity to support the child care community in emergency preparation, response, and recovery from an emergency. Although much was learned, gaps are still evident. This report explored the regulatory requirements and available resources for child care providers and incorporated these into feedback sessions where providers informed CCRC what is most relevant to them. Training sessions, toolkits and materials are designed using this community-based feedback.
This quasi-experimental study reveals just how critical subsidized child care is to working families. By comparing families who receive these services with families on the waitlist we were able to show that families who are served experience greater economic and social outcomes as well as greater child development outcomes. As assessed by the words of the parents themselves, the hopes and dreams of those on the waitlist are realized by those participating in the program.
Head Start helps families succeed! This report highlights the needs and experiences of 896 families of children enrolled in CCRC’s federally funded Head Start program during the 2013-2014 program year. Parents reported positive experiences and impact of the program. Parents indicated they felt supported by the program and that they are prepared to help their children succeed in kindergarten through elementary school because of their participation Head Start. Parents reported needs for their family including reliable child care, a need that affected various aspects of their lives, including their ability to continue their education, find employment, and participate in Head start program events, meetings, and trainings. This report highlights additional family need and family experiences in the Head Start program.
For more information please contact CCRC's Director of Research, Dr. Susan Savage, at (818) 717-1040.