Children’s Research Center
Children’s Research Center

CRC logo

NCCD’s Children’s Research Center (CRC) has been working to improve child safety, permanency, and well-being since its establishment in 1993. CRC works in partnership with child-serving agencies to improve direct practice and organizational operations through models that integrate evidence-based assessments, family-centered engagement strategies, and implementation science.

CRC has collaborated with child welfare agencies in 40 U.S. states, 3 Australian states and a territory, 4 Canadian provinces, Taiwan, and Bermuda, to construct actuarial risk assessment instruments, design and implement decision-support and data analysis systems, conduct workload studies, and evaluate agency service-delivery programs. CRC also monitors educational outcomes for schools to help administrators and teachers use data to improve student and school performance.

CRC is best-known for creating the Structured Decision Making® (SDM) system, a set of research-based assessment instruments. In 2011, CRC launched a new initiative to incorporate research-based assessments into a unified practice for child welfare agencies. Agencies often seek to improve outcomes for children and families by adopting new programs or reforms. Life for the caseworker may become a disjointed experience of new skills and expectations that in turn affects the experiences of the families he or she serves. CRC believes that by harmonizing these varied efforts and making explicit connections among them, agencies, workers, and families will be more successful. The elements of unified practice are simple: research-based assessments, an evidence-based model of practice with families, and an organization that works to weave these elements together so that the family experiences seamless and coordinated services that help them provide for the safety and well-being of their children.

Underlying everything CRC does is the importance of research and evaluation. CRC supports practices with an existing evidence base and evaluates new practices to determine if they are effective. It is sometimes complicated to balance the need for systems that can be implemented immediately with the search for evidence in fields such as child protection where much is not yet researched. CRC can assist organizations by identifying options that have existing evidence, developing evaluation strategies when implementation requires going beyond existing evidence-based practices, and helping to integrate practices for more cohesive practice models.

For more information on CRC's work, contact Dr. Raelene Freitag, Director of CRC.

TESTIMONIALS
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I love working with CRC. They are professional, knowledgeable, responsive, and produce high-quality products and services. In addition to being experts in their tools, they have in-depth practice knowledge. This combination is unique and allows them to be valued consultants as well as service providers.

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Danna Kipnis
Computer Based Training Officer
Riverside County, CA, USA
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I have worked with CRC on the implementation of a pilot tool. As more workers used the tool and had real-life experience with it, they made suggestions as to how some of the definitions would be easier to understand and clarified. CRC was willing to evaluate the suggestions and many of the changes were made as a result of real people making the request.

I am impressed with CRC's professionalism, willingness to provide support and assistance, and the quality work they continually produce.

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Crystal Shackleford
Staff Development Officer
Riverside County, CA, USA
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I’ve had the distinct honor of working with [the CRC] in understanding and modernizing their set of decision making tools without deteriorating the validity or reliability of their process and research. Their adherence to best practice, concern for the welfare and well-being of children and paramount attention to details regularly epitomizes their goal and mission to keep children safe.

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Abraham Lee
Director of Product Management
Díona Technologies