Research offers public child welfare agencies meaningful information about disparities experienced
by children, youth and families. Research findings from monitoring and evaluation enable the agency
to use informed decision-making in determining which interventions will help eliminate disparities.
Research spurs innovation and facilitates continuous improvement by outlining what is needed to
improve data collection methodologies on disparity and disproportionality issues.
While it is true that research can be expensive, public child welfare agencies are able to use
money from IV-E funding that is set aside for program administration and training to research
disparity issues at the agency. Funding research on disparities issues can facilitate the agency’s
understanding of how to create equity for all through improved program operation, administration
and training effectiveness. Public child welfare agencies can also consider partnering with
philanthropies and community stakeholders to identify and leverage needed resources for research on
Agencies should be willing to make the research findings available to partners and stakeholders.
Information learned from the research findings helps the agency gain a better understanding of the
issue. The information can also prompt instructive questions and enable the agency to develop
solutions. For instance, the agency would not hide or avoid baseline data that revealed entry and
exit disparities for children of color; instead it would use these data to probe questions that
would provide understanding as to how and why this has been happening in the agency.
Agencies should carefully think through the research questions to be studied, being careful that
research questions are well designed, objective and avoid bias or personal agendas. Some useful
research questions to study on the disparity and disproportionality issue might include: