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Report to the Legislature: Evaluation of the Department of Children and Families Community-Based Care Initiative Fiscal Year 2006-2007

Publication Link 924 KB pdf


Community-Based Care, child safety, child welfare evaluation, child and family outcomes


Mary I. Armstrong, PhD


This evaluation examines the status of Community-Based Care (CBC) in Florida, with a special focus on child and family outcomes, quality, and cost. The report includes the 20 lead agencies that served Florida’s 67 counties during fiscal year 2006-2007 (FY06-07). The executive summary briefly details critical findings on three research questions, with attention paid to longitudinal trends over the past three years when possible.

Implementation of Community-Based Care was designed as an innovative statewide reform that was expected to increase accountability, resource development, and system performance (Department of Children and Families, 2006). Because the implementation was planned to be statewide, multi-faceted, and therefore complex, transition to Community-Based Care was done gradually over several years. By 2005, all Florida counties had transitioned to Community-Based Care and all services, except for child protective investigations, were provided by the lead agencies.

Although the major goal of Community-Based Care implementation has been to improve child outcomes, it was unreasonable to expect improvements in performance immediately after transition to CBC due to the complexity of the process. However, after two years of CBC implementation statewide, the legislature, policymakers, and other officials expressed interest in examining trends based on indicators hypothesized to reflect the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997.

Over the years, the Florida Department of Children and Families generated numerous reports based on HomeSafenet data in order to assess lead agencies’ performance and provide immediate feedback. These reports were done on a quarterly basis and included multiple
indicators of child safety and permanency. This evaluation includes a review of selected reports and examination of lead agencies’ performance over time in comparison with the Department target for each indicator. Therefore, the goals of this programmatic outcomes analysis are to assess changes over time in lead agency performance and to determine if there are examples of excellence by particular lead agencies.

This evaluation examines the status of Community-Based Care (CBC) in Florida, with a special focus on quality performance, outcome measure attainment, and cost efficiency. The report includes 20 lead agencies serving all 67 Florida counties. The period covered by this report includes fiscal year 2006-2007 (FY06-07). The Programmatic Outcomes and Cost Analysis sections also utilize data from previous fiscal years as indicated. The evaluation is organized by a set of research questions regarding the effectiveness of Community-Based Care.

The research questions listed below provide a guiding framework for the evaluation and serve as the foundation for the organization of the report. The research questions address the three legislatively-mandated components of this evaluation (Programmatic Outcomes, Quality and Cost):

1. How effective is Community-Based Care at meeting the Adoption and Safe Families Act outcome requirements for child safety and permanency?

2. How effective is Community-Based Care at providing quality service to children and families involved in the child welfare system while maintaining a focus on child safety, permanency, and well-being?

3. How effective is Community-Based Care at managing all resources and costs efficiently?


Armstrong, M., Vargo, A., Jordan, N., King-Miller, T., Sowell, C., Yampolskaya, S. (2007). Report to the Legislature: Evaluation of Community-Based Care Initiative Year 2006-2007. Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute: Tampa, Florida.