Making a Difference in Chicago

Chapin Hall’s commitment to our home city

Across the country, Chapin Hall works with partners to improve policy and practice related to ensuring child and family well-being. Chicago, though, is our home. We are uniquely committed to applying our expertise, tools, and experience in our home city. Our executive director, Bryan Samuels, a native of the South Side of Chicago, brings not only his nationally recognized expertise, but also his lived experience to his leadership. (Learn more about his personal and professional journey.)

Since 1985, Chapin Hall has evaluated dozens of local programs, ranging from supplemental programs at Chicago Public Schools (report on the impact of restorative justice programs), to early childhood education (Kindergarten Transition Project in Altgeld-Riverdale), to child care (learn what Latina mothers in two Chicago communities say about child care). In one comprehensive report, Chapin Hall looked at the changing demographics and characteristics of Chicago’s children over the course of two decades: Chicago Children and Youth 1990–2010: Changing population trends and their implications for services.

Rigorous evaluations help service providers improve outcomes for the youth and families they serve. Chapin Hall provides this through quality data, integration of data sets, focus groups, and interviews—any set of methodologies that get to the key questions our partners need to answer. Ultimately, our evaluations point to the impact of programs and what can be done to increase that impact.

Through our Chicago-based Youth Data Collaborative, Chapin Hall works to build the capacity of member youth service organizations to use data reflectively and effectively. Through training, facilitated conversation, and custom-designed administrative data products, the Youth Data Collaborative helps operators of youth programs understand the strengths and needs of youth in the city. Information used includes academic progression, attitudes and behaviors, criminal justice contact, and experiences of trauma.

Chapin Hall also provides national leadership on what works to prevent and end homelessness. Chicago was one of 22 local sites in our foundational Voices of Youth Count research. In this video, key national findings about youth experiencing homelessness are reviewed, and Bryan Samuels talks in detail about our findings about Cook County youth experiencing housing instability.

Many Chapin Hall staff have worked in the systems with which we partner, from Chicago Public Schools, to the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services, to the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, to local nonprofits. With each project Chapin Hall pursues, we assemble a team uniquely suited to meet the challenge of the work, including subject matter experts and those most familiar with the partner organization.

Chapin Hall is dedicated to improving child and family well-being, nationally and in our home city of Chicago. If you need a partner who can work with you to develop an evidence-based approach to program design, implementation, and evaluation, please reach out to us.