Measuring the Immeasurable Symposium Series (Overview)

Recognizing that the international child protection and family welfare sector frequently lacks robust evidence and methods of measuring or conceptualizing difficult-to-capture or sensitive data, the Child Protection in Crisis (CPC) Learning Network strives to undertake the innovative research necessary to build the evidence base to affect change in child protection policy and practice. A pre-requisite of building this evidence base is the establishment of effective, appropriate and valid tools and methods for use in assessments and evaluations.

This three-part symposium series created a forum for sharing what researchers are collectively learning about measuring complex topics related to global child protection and social welfare and promoted dialogue about key knowledge gaps and what methods can be used to best fill them. Some emphasis was placed on encouraging dialogue across researchers working domestically and those working on international issues.

Part 1: Measuring Violence Against Children and the Effectiveness of Violence Prevention and Reduction Initiatives

The CPC Learning Network hosted the first segment on October 21, 2013. This symposium focused on issues around measuring  violence against children and assessing the effectiveness of violence prevention and reduction initiatives. Dr. Joe Amon, Head of the Health and Human Rights program at Human Rights Watch, moderated a panel of diverse experts. The panel included: Dr. Les Roberts, Director of the Program on Forced Migration and Health at the Mailman School of Public Health; Dr. Howard Kress, Team Lead, Violence Against Children and Youth Team, Division of Violence Prevention, Center for Disease Control; Dr. Marni Sommer, Assistant Professor of Socio-Medical Sciences at Mailman; and Dr. Shakira Suglia, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Mailman.

Part 2: Measuring the Social Service Workforce and the Practice of Working with Vulnerable Children and Families

The second segment, co-hosted by the CPC Learning Network and the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance on February 19th, 2014, focused on research concerning the social service workforce, especially those elements of the workforce that work with children and families. The symposium broadly addressed these questions: how do we measure the efficacy of the social service workforce? What recent research tools and methods are available for such measurement? How do we measure efforts to strengthen and support the social service workforce? Capacity building and training? What can we learn from efforts to measure the health workforce? For this symposium, the workforce is defined broadly–from managers and credentialed social service workers to community-level volunteers.

Read more here.

Part 3: The State of the Evidence on Children’s Care

As the third and final part of the series, this symposium, co-convened by the Better Care Network and the CPC Learning Network, explored the development and implementation of key initiatives to better measure and address issues of children’s care at country, regional, or international levels. The symposium panels addressed: efforts to measure trends in family composition and children’s care and living arrangements, initiatives to measure the impact of policies and programs to strengthen families and to ensure children’s ability to be raised in a family environment, and measurement of situations and outcomes concerning children outside of family care and children in alternative care arrangements.

Read more here.

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