NCCD has long been at the forefront of translating research to practice by working with numerous federal, state, and local agencies to conduct research that has practical and direct implications for practice improvement. Much of our research occurs in response to requests from various fields to examine particular areas of interest related to emerging issues, in response to federal or state mandates, or related to system-reform efforts. NCCD research includes program evaluation, process evaluation, and exploratory examinations of juvenile justice, adult corrections, adult protection, child welfare, and poverty/economic support systems and the impact these systems have on the people they serve.
Topic-specific research we conduct includes the following:
- Racial disparity: NCCD conducts systemwide examinations of the prevalence of racial disparity at various points along the adult corrections, juvenile justice, and child welfare service continuums, including analyses of policies, procedures, and decision making that contribute to disparity. In addition, all of our risk assessments are tested across race/ethnicity groups to ensure that the assessments function equitably.
- Gender equity: NCCD conducts examinations of gender inequity in juvenile and adult justice systems, including policies, procedures, and decision making that contribute to gender inequity. Results can be used to identify specific areas in which to improve agency efforts to provide effective gender-specific programming. In addition, all of our risk assessments in adult and juvenile justice are tested across gender to ensure that the assessments work equally well for both genders.
- Gender identity/sexual orientation: NCCD conducts research and provides technical assistance and training on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. LGBT issues are inseparable from our research and technical assistance on race and gender, given that most LGBT youth in the juvenile justice system are of color and because at least one-quarter of girls in the juvenile justice system are lesbian or bisexual.
- Gang-affiliation prevention and intervention: NCCD conducts research and provides technical assistance and training to US cities committed to reducing the prevalence of gang violence. We support cities’ efforts to curb gang activity by promoting best practices; encouraging the development of comprehensive, targeted strategies; using peer learning as a strategy to make cities’ efforts more effective; encouraging community collaboration; and promoting state and federal policy.
- Placement stability for children in foster care: NCCD conducts research to help child welfare agencies improve stability for children placed in out-of-home care, whether due to abuse, neglect, or delinquency. We examine the reasons for placement disruption and provide technical assistance to child welfare, foster care licensing, and juvenile justice agencies to minimize the number of times children in care move from place to place.
- Systems collaboration: NCCD recognizes that some of our most vulnerable populations are involved in multiple systems; therefore, we conduct research and policy analysis related to cross-systems collaboration and preventing children, youth, and families from becoming involved in multiple systems. Two major NCCD initiatives include preventing families receiving public economic support from becoming involved with child welfare, and preventing children in the child welfare system from becoming delinquent.