Research & Evaluation


"Are we delivering quality services? Are our programs effective? Are we meeting the needs of our community?"
These are the types of questions that human service professionals grapple with on a daily basis. In today’s environment, stakeholders and funders require answers that are grounded in research and data, not just opinion and experience. The Office of Research and Evaluation at IFF specializes in helping the human services community use rigorous applied research techniques to answer these and other practical questions.

We leverage our strengths in the following areas in order to deliver the highest quality research and evaluation products to your organization or program: 


The Institute for Families Office of Research and Evaluation has been meeting the applied research needs of human service organizations for more than 10 years. Our work has covered an array of topics including mental health, child welfare, substance abuse prevention, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health issues, developmental disabilities, child and adolescent services, along with strategic issues related to organizational operations and community planning.

Customized and Cost-Effective

Our staff understands that your needs are unique and will customize our services to meet your specific requirements and priorities. As part of the Rutgers University School of Social Work, we are dedicated to quality public service and community collaboration, and develop efficient, timely and realistic budgets that reflect the work involved. We seek opportunities to partner with private and public entities to leverage and secure funding support for special projects as well.


We help you tap into the resources of Rutgers University, a member of the BIG10 consortium of research universities as well as the American Association of Universities, a group of more than 60 of the most elite research universities in the United States. We have access to various libraries, research centers, analytical and survey tools, specialized websites and clearinghouses, and the most recent advances in a variety of innovative fields. We have faculty, staff and students in 8 satellite offices across the State of New Jersey.

Our full suite of services include:
• Needs assessment
• Program evaluation
• Data analysis
• Logic model development
• Identifying & measuring outcomes
• Strategic planning
• Organizational & program development
• Training evaluation
• Quality management
• Capacity development
• Performance monitoring
• Data tracking systems

New Jersey Child Welfare Data Hub

The New Jersey Child Welfare Data Hub seeks to improve the lives of children and families by disseminating New Jersey child welfare data. 

The New Jersey Child Welfare Data Hub was developed collaboratively by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and the Institute for Families at the Rutgers University School of Social Work. Built upon the principles of transparency and accountability, the Data Hub seeks to improve the lives of children and families by making New Jersey child welfare data available to the public.

We hope insight gained from this data sparks innovation, improves the public's interaction with and understanding of New Jersey's child welfare system, enlightens policymaking, and advances advocacy for children and families.

The site has two main tools for data visualization:

The Data Map is the first of several child welfare data visualization and query tools planned for the site. Our goal is to better understand how children and families interact with New Jersey's child welfare system. The Data Map allows users to explore key child welfare measures, population characteristics, and socioeconomic variables at the state- and county-level. The Data Map provides social and economic context, helping users explore the complex interaction between social environments and the children and families involved with New Jersey's child welfare system.

The Data Portal allows users to create queries within even more performance and demographic categories, such as age, sex, race, and ethnicity, and filter their selections to generate customized visualizations.The New Jersey Child Welfare Data Portal, developed collaboratively between the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and the Institute for Families, allows users to retrieve child welfare data in a new way. Beginning with 5 reports, the Data Portal allows users to explore key indicators of child well-being through customizable visualization and query tools. After selecting a measure, users can select variables to gain further insight into the report. In addition, users can selectively filter the variables, retrieving data in exactly the way they need.

Data Map Press Release

Data Portal Press Release

New Jersey Child Welfare Data Hub

Social worker with Mother and children

New Jersey Coordination Center For Quality Improvement in Forensic Evaluation

The New Jersey Coordination Center for Forensic Evaluation in Child Welfare was developed to promote and disseminate best practices in the facilitation and utilization of forensic evaluations within the state’s child welfare system.  Our successful work over the past five years have included a comprehensive utilization study of forensic practices across the state, a Quality Improvement Study and a QI Tool to assess and benchmark practices, several networking and educational summits, publication of Brief Reports on practice related issues, a series of learning lectures on specialized topics, and several on-demand web-based trainings.  

The Center’s activities concluded on June 30, 2020, when funding for the programming came to an end.  We acknowledge the many contributions made throughout the past five years by forensic evaluators, our peer reviewers, regional and national experts, and from our funder the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF).

An inventory of these initiatives is available at the E-Learning Website.

The Institute for Families partnered with The New Jersey Department of Children and Families and the Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology to establish the New Jersey Coordination Center For Quality Improvement in Forensic Evaluation (NJCC).  NJCC implemented a statewide quality improvement program to promote advances in knowledge, policy and practice within the field of child abuse and neglect forensic evaluation and treatment.

NJCC facilitated a number of activities designed to define the scope of current forensic evaluation practice, identify processes and systems that impact the quality and use of expert evaluations, meet critical training and workforce development needs, facilitate expert consultation, and ensure effective dissemination of best practices.  NJCC accomplished these goals through active engagement of the forensic evaluation and treatment community, including the Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Centers, other forensic evaluators, and state and national experts that specialize in culturally-competent, trauma-informed assessment practices.  Statewide activities facilitated through the NJCC in partnership with DCF included:

  • A study of forensic evaluation utilization
  • Peer review processes in partnership with NJ forensic evaluation providers
  • Development of standard metrics to assess practice
  • Consultation with local and national experts
  • Training and technical assistance
  • Development of materials and resources
  • Dissemination of knowledge and information

NJCC’s E-Learning Website

Where forensic practitioners and child welfare professionals can access information including Quality Improvement Study, Research Activities, Published Reports, Lecture Series PowerPoints, and Web-Based Trainings produced by NJCC.

Access the E-learning website.

For more information about NJCC, e-mail

Man and child reading
Social worker with Mother and children
Man and child reading

Other Recent Projects

National Partners

  • Casey Family Programs
    • Newark-Casey Early Childhood Intervention Evaluation
  • Capacity Building Center for States
    • Child Welfare Consultation
  • Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship
    • New Jersey Local Evaluation
  • Beyond Diversity
    • LGBTQ Crime Victim Services Project Evaluation
  • Multiple Sclerosis Association of America
    • Needs of People Living with Multiple Sclerosis

State Partners

  • New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities
    • Aging with Developmental Disabilities Needs Assessment
  • NJ Department of Health
    • Asthma Partnership and Intervention Evaluation
    • New Jersey Rural Health Needs Assessment
    • Sandy-Child and Family Health Study
  • NJ Department of Children and Families
    • New Jersey Collaborative Adoption Recruitment Education and Support (CARES) Evaluation
    • Resource Parent Perspectives Study
    • Batterer’s Intervention Program and Training Evaluation
    • Superstorm Sandy Shared Learning Collaborative
    • DCP&P Management Fellows Project Evaluation
    • Annual Qualitative Review Report
    • Family Success Center Evaluation
    • Statewide Needs Assessment
    • New Jersey Coordination Center for Child Abuse and Neglect Forensic Evaluation and Treatment
  • NJ Department of Human Services
    • Enhanced Options Counseling Training Evaluation
    • New Jersey Child Support Institute Research Support
  • Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey
    • Cross-Site Evaluation of the Early Childhood Mental Health Promotion and Access Initiative
  • National Association of Social Workers – NJ
    • NASW-NJ Leadership Development Institute Evaluation

Local Partners

  • Middlesex County, Office of Human Services
    • Middlesex County 2020: Creating a Collective Vision
    • 2012 Middlesex County Needs Assessment
    • Middlesex County Addictions Planning Support
    • Ryan White Part A Planning Council Support
    • Ryan White Part A Quality Management Program
  • Paterson Housing Authority
    • HOPE VI Housing Revitalization Program Evaluation
    • Resident Opportunity for Supportive Services (ROSS) Evaluation
  • United Way of Greater Union County
    • 2012 Community Needs Assessment
    • Family Strengthening Network Evaluation
  • United Way of Hunterdon County
    • Hunterdon THRIVE Evaluation
  • National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependency of Middlesex County
    • We’re Not Buying It 2.0 Evaluation
    • Footprints for Life Evaluation
    • WISE Program Evaluation
Extended family
Extended family