Multiple Response System: Evaluation of Policy Change in North Carolina's Child Welfare System.

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Systemic challenges within child welfare have prompted many states to explore new strategies aimed at protecting children while meeting the needs of families, but doing so within the confines of shrinking budgets. Differential Response has emerged as a promising practice for low or moderate risk cases of child maltreatment. This mixed methods evaluation explored various aspects of North Carolina's differential response system, known as the Multiple Response System (MRS), including: child safety, timeliness of response and case decision, frontloading of services, case distribution, implementation of Child and Family Teams, collaboration with community-based service providers and Shared Parenting. Utilizing Child Protective Services (CPS) administrative data, researchers found that compared to matched control counties, MRS: had a positive impact on child safety evidenced by a decline in the rates of substantiations and re-assessments; temporarily disrupted timeliness of response in pilot counties but had no effect on time to case decision; and increased the number of upfront services provided to families during assessment. Qualitative data collected through focus groups with providers and phone interviews with families provided important information on key MRS strategies, highlighting aspects that families and social workers like as well as identifying areas for improvement. This information is useful for continuous quality improvement efforts, particularly related to the development of training and technical assistance programs at the state and local level.





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Lawrence, C Nicole, Katie D Rosanbalm and Kenneth A Dodge (2011). Multiple Response System: Evaluation of Policy Change in North Carolina's Child Welfare System. Child Youth Serv Rev, 33(11). 10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.08.007 Retrieved from

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Nicole Lawrence

Research Scientist, Senior

Dr. Lawrence has a primary focus on designing and conducting community-based research and evaluation studies of programs serving at-risk children and their families across a range of disciplines including early childhood and elementary education, mental health, and social services/child welfare.  Her research interests were established through prior professional experiences in program development and management within non-profit organizations underscoring the needs for, and the challenges associated with, conducting research and evaluation of human services programs in community-based settings. Her work at the Center for Child and Family Policy (CCFP) at Duke University has provided the opportunity to bridge these areas through building partnerships with city, county, state, and non-profit agencies that serve children and families, for the shared purpose of collecting and analyzing data in “real time” to improve practice, enhance outcomes, inform policy, and contribute to the literature. Since joining CCFP in 2006, she had led or co-led 18 studies utilizing both qualitative and quantitative research methods and experimental and quasi-experimental designs.

Research Interests:

  • Program Evaluation
  • Child Maltreatment
  • Education
  • Children's Mental Health
  • Ph.D. University of Nebraska, Lincoln - 2009
  • M.P.P.A. California State University, Sacramento - 2001
  • B.A. Sonoma State University - 1994

Katie Davis Rosanbalm

Associate Research Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy

Katie Rosanbalm is trained as a child clinical and quantitative psychologist. Her work focuses on program implementation and evaluation in the areas of early childhood systems, self-regulation development, child welfare, and trauma-sensitive schools. She has conducted longitudinal evaluations of child welfare reform, early childhood Systems of Care, and prevention/intervention programs for mental health and education.

Rosanbalm co-authored a series of white papers on self-regulation development from birth through early adulthood. She has also served on multiple state-level boards and task forces to strengthen the evidence-based implementation of programs for children and families.

Rosanbalm currently leads several ongoing evaluation projects, including:

  • Incredible Years Dinosaur School, a randomized controlled trial of self-regulation interventions in 120 N.C. PreK classrooms
  • Partnering for Excellence, a program to improve the integration of child mental health services into child welfare
  • Resilience and Learning, a partnership with the Public School Forum to develop and implement a trauma-sensitive school model in North Carolina
  • ITTI Care, a professional development framework to provide training and coaching on trauma-informed care to caregivers in infant/toddler classrooms.

COVID-19 Resources

Rosanbalm recently created a webinar, Self-Care: How to Combat Stress with Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic. She also shared a resource for people living with domestic violence during stay-at-home orders.

Tip Sheets on Supporting the Development of Self-Regulation in Young Children

Co-authored by Katie Rosanbalm for the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Explore these tips for helping caregivers use co-regulation to support development of self-regulation skills in preschoolers and young children in home settings.

Research Interests
  • Child Maltreatment
  • Self-Regulation
  • Trauma-Sensitive Schools
  • Program Evaluation
  • Early Childhood

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