Spotlight on Getting Ready to Use Data and Evidence to Support Change

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Spotlight On...

Getting Ready to Use Data and Evidence to Support Change


Using data and evidence effectively is essential to support sustainable change. When child welfare agencies collect quality data from a variety of sources and bring together different perspectives to critically examine that data and evidence, they lay a foundation for exploring problems and needs and ultimately, for identifying solutions to lead to better outcomes.

Returning to data and evidence through continuous quality improvement (CQI) cycles enables agencies to examine progress over time and make needed adjustments. Federal monitoring processes such as Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) emphasize the effective use of data and evidence, including statewide data indicators, to help state child welfare systems identify problems, explore their causes, target strategies, and monitor improvements in child safety and permanency outcomes[1].

How Do You Know You’re Ready?

How do agencies know if they are ready to use data and evidence effectively? To explore readiness, agencies must consider questions like:

  • Do you have the right data to answer your agency’s questions? Does the data tell the full story of what’s happening? 
  • Is your data high quality (i.e., accurate, timely, complete, and consistent)? What can be done to improve data quality (e.g., improve response rates or address missing data)? 
  • Do you have sufficient demographic data to examine the experiences and outcomes of different populations (e.g., racial/ethnic groups, children of different ages, county, jurisdictional area)?
  • Have you considered ways to integrate the perspectives of youth and family members with lived expertise and others closest to the issues in interpreting what the data mean?
  • Do you have systems, processes, and people to effectively capture, store, analyze, and report on the data and evidence? 
  • Do you have the leadership support for these systems and processes? 


The Capacity Building Center for States (the Center) works closely with public child welfare agencies to assess their readiness and build capacity for using data and evidence effectively. The Center supports structured change and implementation processes to use data and evidence to explore problems, assess needs, and monitor progress over time. In addition, Center resources and support can be used not only as part of the CFSRs, but also in between CFSR rounds to monitor performance on safety and permanency outcomes and data indicators.

The Center has many resources to help agencies build capacity for using data and evidence effectively: 

Resource Series and Publications


Podcast and E-Learning

Episode 5

Related Resources

Related Organizations

  • Chapin Hall – Works with agencies and communities to build effective services and systems, accelerate the use of evidence in practice, and better serve children, youth, and families.

Did you receive this message from a friend? Get it delivered to your inbox.