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Building the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse


  • Which programs are effective at supporting children and families and preventing foster care placements?
  • Abt systematically reviews and rates programs and services.
  • Abt developed procedures to systematically review research and built a user-friendly website to share findings.
The Challenge

The Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse was established by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Families First Prevention Services Act to systematically review research on programs and services intended to provide enhanced support to children and families and prevent foster care placements. The Prevention Services Clearinghouse rates programs and services as well-supported, supported, promising, or does not currently meet criteria. These services include mental health and substance misuse prevention and treatment services, in-home parent skill-based programs, and kinship navigator programs.

The Approach

The Clearinghouse team at Abt developed systematic, rigorous, and transparent standards and procedures to review and rate programs and services. Clearinghouse staff use these procedures and services to identify and select programs and services for review, conduct comprehensive literature searches, review eligible studies of each program and service, and assign program and service ratings.

The Results

The Clearinghouse team at Abt helped produce the Handbook of Standards and Procedures, which includes:

  1. Procedures for identifying programs and services and associated research studies for review or re-review,
  2. Standards for assessing research studies and rating programs and services, and
  3. Definitions of key terms.

The Reporting Guide for Study Authors details the information in studies that the Prevention Services Clearinghouse uses to determine eligibility for review, assign design and execution ratings, and determine program or service ratings, as well as other recommended practices for research reporting. This guide aims to facilitate the Prevention Services Clearinghouse review process and is also intended to help study authors describe their studies completely and consistently.

The team also developed and maintains the Clearinghouse website, which allows users to easily identify descriptions of and ratings for programs and services reviewed by the Clearinghouse. This website also includes resources and answers to frequently asked questions. Abt will continue to seek input from the field to ensure that the website is relevant and responsive to their needs.