CPR is engaged in a variety of research, evaluation, and technical assistance projects.
CPR is evaluating Oregon’s efforts to address parenting time at the child support agency during the order establishment process. Oregon is testing the use of mediation and developing an online interactive tool for parents to use in developing a parenting plan, referred to as an Interactive Parenting Plan (IPP). In addition to evaluating the accessibility and effectiveness of offering mediation services to parents in the child support system, CPR is conducting a process evaluation of the IPP with the goal of making its replication feasible for other jurisdictions interested in helping parents establish parenting time plans.
CPR is providing technical assistance to Colorado and Tennessee’s Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration project (CSPED), an eight-state project testing the effectiveness of providing enhanced child support services, employment services and responsible fatherhood programming to noncustodial parents in the child support system. CPR works closely with each state’s project director to provide implementation assistance, ongoing data management, continuous quality improvement monitoring and project management duties.
In 2015, CPR assisted three states. CPR provided technical assistance to Pennsylvania on its quadrennial child support guidelines review; specifically, we analyzed economic data on the cost of raising children and case file data on the application of and the deviation from the presumptive guidelines formula. CPR presented these findings to the Pennsylvania committee responsible for reviewing the guidelines and providing recommendations for changes. We also assisted Ohio in developing an updated, proposed guidelines including a schedule based on current economic data. CPR assisted a workgroup, authorized by the Minnesota legislature that is charged with recommending a parenting-time formula appropriate for the state.
CPR is working with MDRC and MEF Associates to improve outcomes of child support programs in eight states by implementing behaviorally informed service interventions and conducting rigorous, rapid-cycle evaluations. Funded by the U.S Office of Child Support Enforcement, BICS uses a variety of behavioral economics concepts and language to help participating agencies diagnose their procedures and materials in order to identify the problems to be addressed. CPR staff serve as child support experts for each of the eight-state technical assistance teams, and help to develop and test interventions that seek to better engage noncustodial parents in the child support process.
Father Engagement & Healthy Relationships
The Fatherhood Research and Practice Network (FRPN) is a five-year initiative funded by Office of Planning Research and Evaluation to build the evidence base for fatherhood programming. Co-directed by Jessica Pearson of CPR and Jay Fagan, professor of social work, Temple University, FRPN funds teams of researchers and practitioners to conduct rigorous research; provides technical assistance to grantees to improve the quality of the research they conduct; builds the capacity of researchers and fatherhood practitioners by conducting webinars, training programs, preparing written materials, and conducting original research on fatherhood; and disseminates new research and best practices through a comprehensive website, www.frpn.org.
Economic Security & Healthcare
Medicaid and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) are important programs. This project is a community assessment to identify barriers related to enrollment and re-certification in SNAP and Medicaid programs for Denver County residents. This project involves identification of best practices, focus groups and surveys of Denver county residents, in addition to an analysis of available CBMS data. The product will be quick start strategies for the Denver Department of Human Services to take in order to increase enrollment.
Colorado’s Pathways to Success project is being rigorously evaluated by CPR. Pathways to Success seeks to address the issue of homelessness and human trafficking among youth aging out of foster care system in three Colorado sites. This project is testing an enhanced model approach to providing services to youth ages 16-21 currently in foster care or who are homeless. The model program fits into Colorado’s State 9-25 statewide youth plan and hopes to become a model for other state child welfare agencies and runaway and homeless youth service providers. CPR’s evaluation plan calls for random assignment, rapid cycle testing, and ongoing continuous quality improvement. A cost analysis will be conducted as well, which will be part of the final report.
The State Court Improvement Program (CIP) was created in 1993. It provides federal funds to state child welfare agencies and tribes for preventive services and services to families at risk or in crisis. As of fiscal year 2001 all eligible states (50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico) are receiving annual Court Improvement Program grants. CPR has been working with the Louisiana Court Improvement Program since conducting the CIP Reassessment in 2005. CPR conducted an evaluation of a child protection mediation program in two Louisiana parishes, and conducted research on new models of legal representation for indigent parents and children that the state adopted in 2010. CPR also conducted an evaluation of a pilot family drug court in Caddo Parish, and has worked with the Court Improvement Program, The Pelican Center for Children and Families, the Louisiana Foster Parent Association, and the Department of Children and Family Services on needs assessments of Louisiana foster parents.
Domestic violence (DV) programs provide critically important services such as advocacy, shelter, counseling, safety planning, and support groups. However, it can be challenging to conduct research and evaluation on these services, in part due to concerns about safety, confidentiality, logistics, and ethics. For this project, CPR is working with the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) to: (1) assess the rigorous evidence for DV services that is currently available, (2) identify the relevant and unique challenges faced by DV programs when conducting a research or evaluation project, and (3) identify innovative research methodologies to strengthen the research, and (4) explore existing—and recommend new—areas of opportunities to facilitate DV programs’ application of these innovative methodologies.
Domestic violence (DV) services providers use a variety of tools and techniques to assess client needs and provide individualized services. The Colorado Domestic Violence Program recently implemented a self-sufficiency matrix (SSM) as a tool for practitioners to assess and track client-driven goals. The purpose of this evaluation project is to investigate the appropriateness, utility, and applicability of the SSM for domestic violence programs to use when providing services to clients. This evaluation will also include a gap assessment of services needed, but currently not provided, to domestic violence clients. This project involves a literature review and best practices for SSM use, a survey of program staff, and several site visits to learn from programs in their context.
Early Childhood & Education
CPR’s director, Jessica Pearson, designed and directed A+ Angels, a program at Denver’s East High School which pairs students who struggle academically with adult volunteers. Over 12 years, the program grew to involve more than 100 mentor-student pairs who meet weekly to build relationships and work on homework, longer-term projects and graduation requirements. Mentors help their students navigate the system, self-advocate, and experience a bigger world. Since the program’s inception, East’s graduation rate has climbed from 75 to 91 percent and in 2015, East High School formally adopted the program and assigned its leadership to a teacher, assuring its continued existence. CPR’s evaluations of A+ Angels track changes in academic performance before and after program participation including school attendance, grade point average, and standardized test scores.