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.
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.
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
Child Care Needs of Families Experiencing Homelessness in Los Angeles County
In April 2019, the Child Care Resource Center hired HMA Community Strategies to lead a mixed-methods research project to better understand the role of child care in supporting and lifting families out of homelessness, and the ways in which child care should be delivered to these families. Key partners to this effort included members of a Research Advisory Board as well as several community-based organizations who helped recruit and coordinate focus groups throughout Los Angeles County Service Planning Areas (SPAs) 1 and 2 (San Fernando and Antelope Valleys).
Identify the top needs of families experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County SPA 1 & 2
Better understand the role of child care in supporting and lifting families out of homelessness
Identify new models of child care delivery to better serve families experiencing homelessness
If you have questions about this research, please contact Dr. Susan Savage at 818.717.1040 or [email protected].
81% of People in CCRC’s Service Area Live in a Child Care Desert
Lack of affordable child care has negative results on parents, employers, children and the economy. The following link illustrates the existence of child care deserts in North Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties.
As seen in the tool, while 60% of people in California live in a child care desert, 69% of people in Northern LA County live in child care deserts but 77.1% of CCRC’s subsidized child care participants live in a child care desert. 95.2% of people in San Bernardino County live in child care deserts and a slightly higher percentage of CCRC’s subsidized child care participants live in a child care desert (96%). We found serious and troubling inequity in who lives in child care deserts:
- A higher rate of Latinx, African-American, and Native-American families live in child care deserts compared with Caucasians and Asians
- Higher poverty rate for children under age 6 (in LA, but not San Bernardino)
- Lower rate of children with both parents in the workforce (if one stays home, they may not need child care)
- Higher rate of children with single parents in the workforce (child care deserts may have lower costs of living)
- Lower rate of maternal labor participation (chicken and egg – if no child care people can’t work and if they don’t have a job they may not seek child care)
- Higher rate of workers who work non-standard hours (those working non-standard hours are often low-income and may select more affordable communities)
A number of policy recommendations are included in the story map. The time to focus funding in areas of greatest opportunity is now. If you have questions about this story map, please contact Dr. Susan Savage at 818.717.1040 or [email protected]
The Intersection Between Child Welfare and ECE
Early Care and Education (ECE)
The benefits of participation in high-quality Early Care and Education (ECE) are pronounced for children from low-income families and for those already involved with or at risk of entering child protective services (CPS). CCRC and the Children’s Data Network partnered to link records from SPA 1 and SPA 2 including birth records for all children born between 2010-2012, CCRC records for 0-5 year olds served between 2010-2016 and CPS records of children 0-5 years old from 2010-2016. Key findings from this work include (these are children age 0-5 years in SPA 1 and SPA 2):
- 1 in 9 children in SPA 1 and 2 were served by CCRC; the same was found for CPS
- The greatest number of children served at CCRC were served by CalWORKs Stage 1 (45%) and 2 (40%) and Head Start (39%) [note children are served by more than one program over time]
- The entry point into CCRC is greatest through CalWORKs Stage 1 (35%) and Head Start (27%)
- The entry point for CPS is before age 2 (83%) with more than half entering before age 1.
- SPA 1 communities have greater needs than SPA 1 and LA County as a whole (children born to more African-American mothers, born to mothers under 25 years, more likely to use public insurance, born to a mother with 3+ children, had no declared paternity at birth)
Cohort Served by CCRC and CPS
- 25% of all children served by CCRC had a history of substantiated maltreatment
- 1 in 3 children who received CalWORKs child care were known to CPS
- 1 in 5 children who received FCCHEN/AP/Head Start were known to CPS
- Of the children served by both CCRC and CPS, most (62%) were served by CPS first and most (83%) were first served as infants/toddlers
- Of the children served by CCRC prior to CPS, 90% entered through CalWORKs
- Given that children served by ECE and CPS have similar backgrounds, policies and programs need to be accessible to all families who live in under-resourced communities and illustrate the need for trauma-informed services for ECE and other programs that serve these groups.
- Program expansion opportunities need to consider specific communities that may be even more under-resourced such as SPA 1.
- The greatest entry points include the CalWORKs programs which has implications for partnerships with entities that work with CalWORKs populations (e.g., county social services or home visiting) to ensure these families have access to critical supports such as child care.
Head Start is one of the greatest entry points for children served by CCRC in general but less so for those served also by CPS. Given the holistic nature of this program, reducing any barriers to this program (hours, timing of open spaces, etc.) should be considered.
Declines in Small Businesses Put Parental Choice at Risk
This brief illustrates the challenges faced by Licensed Family Child Care providers and the resulting declines in their numbers since 2008. Cuts to revenue and increases in costs result in these business owners being pushed below the Federal Poverty Level. Consideration of how to support these small business owners needs can preserve this support for California’s working parents.
CCRC’s Lessons Learned for the Statewide Emergency Child Care Bridge Program
CCRC’s evaluation of the California Emergency Child Care Bridge program revealed positive results for the well-being of children in foster care and their caregivers. It also revealed the increased capacity of child care providers to offer trauma-informed child care environments. Recommendations are offered to improve and strengthen this program for California’s most vulnerable children.
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.
The 2019 Legislative brief highlights the significant economic impact of child care funding. Investments have positively strengthened and grown the ability to serve 4-year-olds. However, the $1B cut from child care has not yet been reinvested for other age groups or parents who work non-traditional hours. Children’s brains develop most of their capacity by age 3-5 years; we need to ensure they have access to high quality child care from birth. Research shows that early experiences set children on a path for success or challenges in the future – so we can invest now or pay much more for services later. Parent earnings and child care provider payments are spent in our local communities. The investment today is realized and seen in our communities now, as well as in the future.
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.
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.