Adverse Childhood Experiences and Protective Factors

      In 2015, HZA staff developed and delivered training on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) study and its implications for service delivery. HZA has also developed and delivered training on Protective Factors and the statewide results of the surveys administered throughout West Virginia. The ACES training has been recorded and delivered as a webinar.

      Child Abuse Prevention Grantees Protective Factors Evaluation

      From 2013 to the present, HZA has continued to oversee the statewide implementation, training and technical assistance for the Protective Factors Survey which is required for the state’s CBCAP- funded agencies. HZA expanded the Survey to encompass other items of interest to West Virginia. It is administered as a pre-post survey to families around the state. FRIENDS contacted HZA and DHHR for permission to share the West Virginia Family Survey with other states as a quality example of the Protective Factors Survey.

      Evaluation of Jacob’s Law Implementation

      In 2011, HZA was contracted to evaluate the effectiveness of House Bill 4164, commonly known as “Jacob’s Law.” The intent of the legislation is to reduce the number of moves from one foster care setting to another of children four to ten years of age, as well as of their siblings. That outcome is to be achieved through the use of timely assessments, enhanced specialized foster homes and emergency interventions when a placement is about to disrupt. HZA’s report indicated that the statute was not having the intended effect, in part because of difficulties in recruiting enhanced specialized home

      Home Visitation System Evaluation

      West Virginia received a federal grant with funds authorized by the Affordable Care Act to expand and enhance the infrastructure of its statewide home visitation program beginning in 2012 and ending in 2015. The State’s strategy is to improve the quality of home visiting services and the outcomes achieved for families by building key components of the state infrastructure, including developing program standards based on national models, incorporating validated measurement tools into practice and expanding the home visitation infrastructure and training capacity. HZA performed both a process and an impact evaluation of these efforts. The process evaluation focused on: 1) the extent to which the objectives listed above are achievable and are actually achieved; 2) the effects of achieving the outcomes on program management and program effectiveness; 3) barriers that are encountered in implementing objectives; and 4) how difficulties are overcome. The impact component examined important changes in families such as improved prenatal, maternal, and newborn health; improved economic self-sufficiency; decreased childhood injuries, abuse and neglect, and emergency department visits; reduced crime and domestic violence; and improved school readiness.

      Safe at Home Title IV-E Waiver Evaluation

      From 2015 to 2020 HZA is evaluating West Virginia’s Title IVE Waiver initiative, Safe at Home West Virginia. BCF serves children who are involved in the juvenile justice system, have been abused or neglected, and/or who have a behavioral health diagnosis. Safe at Home West Virginia is designed to reduce the number of children in congregate care and bring them back to their home communities by working intensively with both the youth and family following the Wrap Around model. The focus is 12 to 17 year old, including those at risk of placement. To measure the success of the program, HZA has developed a rigorous evaluation methodology as well as the qualitative and quantitative data collection tools. HZA is using data from FACTS, West Virginia’s SACWIS, to track client cohorts and measure the outcomes the agency in achieving. The firm created matched historical comparison groups using propensity score matching to ensure group comparability. Then, using prospective (entry cohort) analysis, each treatment and comparison group member is followed to determine whether the youth was returned from an out-of-state placement, moved from a congregate care setting to a foster home, returned home or was abused or neglected, among other outcomes. HZA uses statistical tests to determine whether the outcomes achieved for the treatment group are significantly different than those of the matched historical comparison group.

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