For some time, ACF has been pursuing learning agendas and related activities at multiple levels. At the broadest level, ACF contributes to the HHS multi-year evidence plan and HHS annual evaluation plan required of cabinet agencies by the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (the Evidence Act). At the same time, ACF’s Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation has been working closely with several individual ACF program offices to develop detailed learning agendas related to specific ACF programs.
This research and evaluation agenda draws upon the learning agendas being developed with ACF program offices and highlights priority questions; key past, ongoing, and future research and evaluation efforts; and major stakeholder engagement activities for each program.
The agenda covers research and evaluation activities and plans in nine ACF program areas: Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention and Sexual Risk Avoidance, Child Care, Child Support Enforcement, Child Welfare, Head Start, Health Profession Opportunity Grant, Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood, Home Visiting, and Welfare and Family Self-Sufficiency.
For each program area, the agenda includes an overview of the program; a description of past research and evaluation activities; a discussion of stakeholder engagement; examples of broad questions and how those questions are being addressed by recent and ongoing research and evaluation; and a discussion of future directions. Each section also lists relevant measures by which programs monitor performance under the Government Performance and Results Act.
We hope in future iterations to expand the scope of this agenda to include other types of learning as well, such as performance management and use of administrative data. We also hope to expand the scope in future iterations beyond the nine program areas included in this first effort.