CHSR’s work cover a wide range of topics. Listed below are a sampling of current and recent major projects in each of our main areas of expertise. All project publications, reports, and research briefs can be found on our Scholars Archive page, organized by these same domains. For more information about any of these projects, please contact our general email or our Assistant Director Erin Berical. For more information about past projects, please view our Project Archive.
CHSR works with agencies and organizations across the state on investigative studies designed to inform and educate communities and improve mental health for adults, adolescents and children.
CHSR is currently the external evaluator for three System of Care implementation and expansion grants awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), including for New York State (focusing on implementing high fidelity wraparound and integration with Health Homes in multiple counties across the state), New York City (focusing on implementing high fidelity wraparound and integration with Health Homes in New York City), and Cayuga County (focusing on implementing DBT in schools in the county).
CHSR’s activities include interview data collection with participating families and youths, program implementation monitoring and impact evaluation, and regular internal and external reporting.
Children, Family, & Elder Services
CHSR’s work in the area of children and family services includes evaluation and research, and systems and software development for multiple statewide Healthy Families America programs. Additional projects in this area reflect our expertise in evaluations of programs designed to strengthen families and enhance inter-agency collaboration in the provision of services.
CHSR, in collaboration with the University at Albany School of Social Welfare, worked with Lifespan of Greater Rochester and the Weill Cornell Medicine’s New York City Elder Abuse Center to perform a preliminary program evaluation of the Elder Abuse Interventions and Enhanced Multidisciplinary Team (E-MDT) Initiative in New York State. E-MDTs use a collaborative approach to intervene in complex cases of elder abuse (financial, physical, psychological, sexual, and neglect by others). Members of the teams represent a variety of disciplines including: Adult Protective Services, aging services, health and human services, financial/banking services, law enforcement, and others who meet under the facilitation of an E-MDT Coordinator. The teams are enhanced by access to forensic accountants, geriatric psychiatrists/mental health professionals, and civil legal services.
As of September 2020, there were currently 44 counties with operational E-MDTs and several more under development in the State. Through interviews and surveys with representatives in a number of different roles, CHSR staff established a baseline efficacy of the program in New York State.
Funding for this preliminary program evaluation was provided from the New York State Office for the Aging and federal Victims of Crime Act/New York State Office of Victim Services to Lifespan of Greater Rochester.
Since 1995, CHSR has been working with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services to conduct a variety of studies of Healthy Families New York (HFNY), a statewide paraprofessional home visiting program using the Healthy Families America model designed to prevent child abuse and neglect, improve parent-child interaction, increase parental self- CHSR’s work aims to monitor program implementation and model fidelity, measure program impact and outcomes, and inform practice and policy in New York State.
Evaluation & Research
Randomized Controlled Trial: CHSR and OCFS conducted a randomized controlled trial that began in 2000. Over 1,000 women were interviewed annually for 3 years; additional waves of data collection occurred in Years 7 and 15. In the study, expectant and new parents were assigned to either a treatment group (offered home visiting services) or a control group (received referral information only). The study compared these women and their children over time to assess program outcomes. Please see our Scholars Archive page for publications resulting from this work.
Evaluation of Child Welfare Protocol program participation and impact: HFNY has recently implemented an adaptation of the program model aimed at serving families referred in to the program via the child welfare system. CHSR is evaluating whether the families served under this arm of the program are similar to those served under the Signature model practices, or if they differ in significant and meaningful ways, and if program service delivery and participation and/or program impacts and outcomes differ between groups. CHSR will examine program service data, conduct interviews and focus groups, and collect survey data.
CHSR is an active participant of HFNY’s Central Administration, an interdisciplinary team of HFNY program administrators, trainers, and evaluators. CHSR researchers and management information system staff regularly attend statewide HFNY leadership team meetings. These meetings provide valuable opportunities to report research findings and discuss ways to integrate them into program practices.
Systems & Software Development
CHSR has designed and maintains a Management Information System (MIS) used by all 54 HFNY sites. Information is gathered on the primary caregiver, child, other caregivers, and program staff. Data are collected on family demographics, medical events, pregnancy outcomes, home visits, referrals, developmental screens, parental stress, training, educational attainment, and employment. Performance measures monitor attainment toward program goals. In addition to providing evaluation data, the system produces site-specific statistical reports to assist in program monitoring, administration, and management of cases. CHSR offers on-site training, telephone and email support, special report requests, and regular statewide training sessions. CHSR also designed and maintains the statewide HFNY website.
NYS Kinship Navigator Evaluation
CHSR is working with the New York State Kinship Navigator program and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services to evaluate the provision of services and supports to kinship caregivers (e.g., grandparent or relative caregivers in lieu of parents) as part of statewide efforts to implement kinship caregiver services meeting national What Works Clearinghouse standards. Kinship Navigator’s goal is to foster family stability, safety, well-being, and permanency for youth in kinship care. New York State has also trained and designated “Kinship Champions” in local Departments of Social Services, who are meant to support kin caregiver families and connect families with the Navigator.
CHSR is currently reviewing currently approved models from other states to determine potential options for New York. CHSR will also be surveying local Commissioners and Kinship Champions to learn more about local systems in place and relationships with Kinship Navigator, and holding focus groups of families served by these Champions to learn about program successes and areas needing additional support.
CHSR is collaborating with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services to research youth transitioning out of foster care.
The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) collects information on youth in foster care and their outcomes as they transition out of foster care. The survey asks about employment, education, financial resources, and family relationships. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) contracts with CHSR to track and survey these youth at ages 17, 19, and 21.
The project requires close communication with regional and agency liaisons and caseworkers to obtain youth data; ongoing contact with youth to maintain current contact information; the administration of telephone, web, and paper surveys; and regular submission of data reports to OCFS.
Criminal & Juvenile Justice Services
CHSR’s portfolio includes process and outcome studies of local and state initiatives designed to address the impact of juvenile justice programs on youth. We conduct evaluations of prevention programs as well as models of organizational and systems change.
CHSR is working with the Albany County Department for Children, Youth, and Families to provide data collection and analysis expertise in juvenile justice.
This work is a continuation of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) that begin in Albany in 2013. The goals of JDAI are to reduce juvenile detention admissions and expand the array of local detention alternatives, minimize re-arrest and failure to appear rates pending adjudication, and reduce racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile detention.
The current work seeks to further these goals through community engagement and interagency collaboration.
CHSR works with local agencies to identify and utilize data in making policy and case-level decisions and in developing strategies to improve the local juvenile justice system. Data pertaining to juvenile justice processes and alternatives to detention are collected, analyzed, and presented to local stakeholders.
The Victim Legal Assistance Network project seeks to expand and enhance the information and resources available on the New York Crime Victims Legal Help Network website. It is a collaborative effort between Empire Justice Center (EJC), Pro Bono Net (PBN), and CHSR. It is funded by a grant from the New York State Office of Victim Services.
This project is a continuation of a federal grant from the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime. The goal of the federally funded project was to develop a comprehensive, collaborative network to meet the civil legal needs of crime victims in New York State, outside of New York City.
CHSR’s work includes conducting needs assessments of specific victim populations, obtaining feedback about how victims and service providers use the website, and analyzing data to inform the content and reach of the website.
The Center for Human Services Research was awarded a contract from the New York State Office of Victim Services (NYS OVS),to conduct an assessment of the training needs of victim service providers throughout New York State. CHSR worked to ascertain the basic skills that victim service providers need to provide quality assistance, services, and support to victims and survivors of crime; specify the types of training and topics needed to improve victim services; identify specific modalities and delivery methods of training for victim service providers; and determine the sustainability of training efforts over time.
CHSR’s needs assessment activities included an online survey of service providers and telephone interviews with key stakeholders, and culminated in a final report including recommendations for delivering and sustaining trainings that meet the needs of victim service providers across New York State.
Education & Early Childhood Development
CHSR’s expertise in evaluations of education and early childhood development include both process and outcome studies. We work closely with the Albany City School District to inform and assess the implementation of new initiatives. We also partner with local and state organizations to evaluate training and professional development programs.
The vision of the New York State Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five initiative was for every child in New York to be supported by a mixed-delivery system that is informed by parent voice and provides access to high quality, equitable and comprehensive early care and learning environments and services essential for healthy development and lifelong success. The grant is administered by the NYS Council of Children and Families. Learn more about these activities here: Preschool Development Birth Through Five (NYSB5).
As part of this initiative, the Center for Human Services Research (CHSR) conducted a series of statewide birth through five Needs Assessments to better understand the strengths and needs of New York State’s mixed delivery early childhood system. Activities included conducting key informant interviews and focus groups with families and providers (with a focus on vulnerable populations); administering electronic surveys for families, direct care staff, and administrators; and reviewing reports, briefings, and published statistics.
CHSR provided ongoing evaluation and feedback to project stakeholders throughout the project to continuously monitor and improve grant activities. The goal of evaluation activities were to establish a valid and reliable system of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), so that program administrators could make timely and informed decisions regarding mid-course corrections or resource allocations.
Data from this work was used to create and update a series of Tableau dashboards demonstrating granted activity implementation, and resulted in many project-specific and annual reports. CHSR staff also created the Early Childhood Advisory Council’s Early Childhood Data Dashboard, integrating various sources of information about New York’s children and child care system in one place.
CHSR developed, tested, and launched an application interface to allow New York State Pyramid Model sites to enter and report on their data. This application has since been adopted nationally, with 13 states currently utilizing the program.
CHSR works with groups focused on improving systems and structures to ensure equity in client access, service delivery, and outcomes. For example, CHSR has partnered with administrative and faculty groups conducting self-studies within UAlbany, and with external partners examining issues and topics across local, national, and international systems.
The University at Albany has partnered with CHSR to conduct an application-required self-study and an ongoing evaluation for its HHMI Driving Change initiative award, EXCELlence in STEM. Based on the results and needs identified in the self-study, the program is utilizing a three-pronged approach to improve outcomes for all STEM students, and particularly those from historically underrepresented backgrounds, ensuring that more UAlbany graduates are well prepared for leadership roles in STEM careers. The program incorporates student-centered interventions (e.g., expansion of the summer bridge program, supplemental instruction support, personalized advising and counseling, etc.), faculty redesign of STEM instruction (core course redesign including transformational learning models, inclusive teaching, and targeted learning pathways, and a faculty learning community), and institutional support (e.g., additional resources, pedagogical enhancements, microcredentials, and planned scholarly research).
CHSR is leading the evaluation of this work, including examining program implementation, impact, outcomes, and sustainability. Activities include student and faculty surveys, interviews and focus groups, and examination of administrative data. CHSR will also build dashboards allowing for visual examination of baseline and annual data to determine areas of success and areas needing additional support.
CHSR conducted an evaluation of six human service departments within Albany County: Department of Social Services, Department of Probation, Department of Health, Department of Mental Health, Department for Aging, and Department for Children, Youth, and Families.
The purpose of this evaluation was to provide county leadership with an assessment of the operations of six county-level human services departments. Utilizing a comprehensive document review, interviews with departmental leaders, and a staff survey, CHSR developed an organizational structure of each department, logic models to outline departmental goals and objectives, and benchmark measures to assist departments in monitoring outcomes on a yearly basis. Additionally, the evaluation gathered data and feedback regarding each department’s current engagement in activities designed to increase equity among the residents of Albany County. This data was used to develop a strategic plan related to a county-wide equity agenda and priority areas, including goals and objectives for participating County departments.
CHSR worked with CARES, Inc. to inform the design and evaluation of the City of Albany’s $1.5 million Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI) grant, aimed at developing a plan to reduce poverty in Albany. A main focus of the grant was be on increasing employment among out-of-school, unemployed youth. The evaluation included reviews of secondary data sources to report on youth demographics and employment trends; a literature and document review to identify best practices, available vocational assessment tools, and outcome measures; interviews with local stakeholders; and administration of electronic surveys to local stakeholders.
Health & Health Care Services
CHSR’s work in the area of health and health care includes evaluations of programs aiming to improve participants’ health and access to care and needed services; previous projects have also included assessments of eating habits and access to nutritious foods.
In 2014, New York State received $6.42 billion from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to launch the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program. DSRIP’s mission was to fundamentally restructure the health care delivery system by reinvesting in the Medicaid program, with the primary goal of reducing avoidable hospital use by 25% over five years. System transformations include reforming managed care payments, shifting payments from fee-for-service to Value Based Payments, and creating Performing Provider Systems (PPS) that include cooperative partnerships between different types of health care facilities.
Evaluation & Research
The University at Albany School of Public Health partnered with CHSR and the University at Albany Econometrics Research Institute to evaluate whether the DSRIP initiatives achieved the desired impact, effectiveness, and value improvements using a pre-post design. The evaluation consisted of an implementation study; an analysis of the comparative effectiveness of different PPSs; and a time series analysis to determine whether health care service delivery, population health, and Medicaid costs change over the study period.
CHSR lead the implementation study from 2017 through 2021. Study activities included conducting surveys, interviews, and focus groups with DSRIP administrators, providers, and patients, and writing site-specific and statewide reports. Data collected include the successes and challenges of PPS planning, implementation, operation, and program sustainability plans.
CHSR was selected by the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) to conduct an evaluation to assess the implementation, impact, effectiveness and cost savings of the NYS MRT (Medicaid Redesign Team) Supportive Housing Initiative.
NYSDOH launched a pilot program to identify best practices, procedures and methods for supportive housing providers to collaborate with health homes to identify and locate homeless or unstably housed Health Home members and to provide housing as a means to facilitate access to health services and improve the health status of Health Home members, and potentially result in cost savings, from greater access to primary and preventive care.
CHSR lead the evaluation of the program’s implementation, impact, effectiveness, and cost savings. Partners included the Institute for Health Systems Evaluation at the UAlbany School of Public Health and CARES, Inc. The evaluation plan includes a process study, a cost study, and a study of quality-of-life outcomes for program participants. CHSR produced a series of reports and research briefs from this work, which can be found on our Scholars Archive page.