Supporting Strategic Efforts in Illinois Child Welfare
Using data to inform programs
Chapin Hall, an acknowledged national leader in child welfare for more than 30 years, counts among its assets a highly motivated, extremely effective multidisciplinary workforce; substantial data holdings; a home at the University of Chicago; and an outstanding reputation for producing highly rigorous, actionable research and policy solutions for public benefit.
Chapin Hall has been a long-standing thought partner and research collaborator in Illinois since the onset of the child welfare reforms in the 1990s. We have been selected to evaluate several Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) initiatives under a court-ordered consent decree. Chapin Hall currently conducts over 20 distinct research, evaluation, strategic implementation, and CQI projects on the continuum of Illinois child welfare reform efforts.
Chapin Hall has maintained DCFS longitudinal administrative data since the 1980s. Our team of experts brings an understanding of national and local child welfare policy and practice, and expertise in the use of administrative child welfare data. We employ all of this to improve the quality of DCFS services through our projects.
Chapin Hall’s work with Illinois DCFS includes:
- Maintaining an integrated database on child and family services in Illinois, which offers a nuanced picture of the experiences of the state’s most vulnerable children and families.
- Evaluating important DCFS programs and policy initiatives, such as home visiting services for pregnant and parenting foster youth.
- Providing responsive support for DCFS as issues arise, such as our review to understand systemic factors that contributed to child deaths and incidents in one DCFS program, Intact Family Services.
- Supporting DCFS’s research and analysis of its programs, such as research on residential care.
- Maintaining a longitudinal database of DCFS’ administrative data as part of The Center of State Child Welfare Data.
- Coaching, training, and evaluation for the application of a Core Practice Model in 62 immersion sites across the state.
- Strategic consultation to support DCFS staff charged with implementing these projects and other performance improvement projects.
This work at Chapin Hall is led by Policy Fellow Mary Sue Morsch and Research Fellow Dr. Brian Chor. Morsch served on the executive team at DCFS for 16 years, where she played a leadership role in implementing major child welfare reforms. She also served as a court-appointed consultant to DCFS for five years. Chor is a clinical psychologist with over 10 years of experience leading child welfare and child mental health services research and conducting program evaluations.
Morsch and Chor oversee the DCFS contract and several individual projects, with other projects led by Amy Dworsky, Bob Goerge, Fred Wulczyn, Shaun Lane, Gailyn Thomas, Dana Weiner, and Kristine Creavey, and supported by teams of Chapin Hall staff with a mix of real-world and research expertise.