Looking Closely

In our work, we closely examine systems and organizations that serve children and families. When we partner with a group or organization, our first job is to listen carefully to what they want to achieve and what they wish to overcome.

We listen to our partners in order to understand and reinforce their current strengths just as we help them identify gaps or negative trends. Together, we develop methods to understand current issues and make plans for future strength using evaluation and assessment. Close examination at the beginning of our process will ensure strong results as we design custom solutions for our partners.

With fresh perspective, you’ll be ready to move to our next steps as we help add value to your services.

We use an array of methods to look closely:

- Quality Assurance case reviews

- Needs Assessment

- Training evaluation

- Savvy Starts to launch Leadership Development

- Program evaluation

- Systemic evaluation

- Comprehensive surveys, such as the National Youth in Transition database

Training and Conference Evaluation

Center for Child and Family Studies evaluates all of its trainings, meetings, and conferences.

Training Evaluations

Training evaluations are designed to measure participants’ confidence in their abilities on a set of competencies related to the training. The results of these evaluations are used to improve training content and delivery. Multiple-day trainings such as the Basic Training courses for new employees receive a more in-depth evaluation than one-day training events.

Basic Training evaluations are designed to assess trainee preparedness to work in the field. This process involves conducting evaluations directly after the training is completed as well as six months post training. The evaluation is designed to consistently measure satisfaction, knowledge learned, and skills developed as they relate to the competencies.

Currently, CCFS evaluators are testing out an exciting new aspect of the evaluation process focusing on participants’ acquisition of basic job-related skills. This Strategic Quality Assurance (QA) Review process is currently being tested on the Child Welfare Basic Certification training.

In this new process, at least one case is reviewed for each trainee six months post training. In the Strategic QA review (hyperlink to the QA page on the website—open in new window?), QA staff review the case using the applicable instrument (e.g., the federal onsite review instrument, the Intake instrument) to assess performance on job duties related to safety, permanence, and well-being of children on their caseloads. The information is then combined with other aspects of the evaluation process to determine the level of skill acquisition, challenges of their work environment, and their perceptions of how well the training prepared them for their work.

Meeting and Conference Evaluations

In addition to training evaluations, CCFS also conducts evaluations for meetings and conferences online via Survey Monkey. A link is emailed to each participant shortly after the meeting or conference. Examples of meeting and conferences that are regularly evaluated include:

- Palmetto Power

- DSS County Director Forum

- Supervisor Summits

- Adult Protective Services Community Collaboration Meetings

- Economic Services Conferences

These evaluations measure a participant’s overall satisfaction with the meeting and applicability of meeting material to that participant’s job. The feedback from these evaluations is used to plan more effective and informative meetings to address the needs of the participants.


National Youth in Transition Database is a national study that (1) surveys youth about their thoughts and experiences of foster care services and (2) tracks the independent living services that youth receive.

The South Carolina Department of Social Services and The Center for Child and Family Studies at the University of South Carolina are partners in this study, which is required by the US government.

By supporting NYTD, the Center supports children who are transitioning out of care into their adult lives, in all of its promise.

- Website: http://nytdstayconnected.com

- SC NYTD Team