Using risk adjustment approaches in child welfare performance measurement: Applications and insights from health and mental health settings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Federal policymaking in the last decade has dramatically expanded performance measurement within child welfare systems, and states are currently being fiscally penalized for poor performance on defined outcomes. However, in contrast to performance measurement in health settings, current policy holds child welfare systems solely responsible for meeting outcomes, largely without taking into account the effects of factors at the level of the child, and his or her social ecology, that might undermine the performance of child welfare agencies. Appropriate measurement of performance is predicated upon the ability to disentangle individual, as opposed to organizational, determinants of outcomes, which is the goal of risk adjustment methodologies. This review briefly conceptualizes and examines risk adjustment approaches in health and child welfare, suggests approaches to expanding its use to appropriately measure the performance of child welfare agencies, and highlights research gaps that diminish the appropriate use of risk adjustment approaches - and which consequently suggest the need for caution - in policymaking around performance measurement of child welfare agencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Keywords

  • Child welfare
  • Mental health
  • Performance assessment
  • Performance measurement
  • Quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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