Description: Chapin Hall’s Integrated Database on Child and Family Programs in Illinois connects administrative data on social service receipt, child protective services, P-20 education, criminal and juvenile justice, employment, health care, and early childhood programs to provide a comprehensive picture of child and family use of publicly provided or financed service programs. Researchers who use Chapin Hall’s integrated database produce policy briefs and reports for policymakers who are interested in improving the programs that serve children and their families. Currently, the integrated database links data from a variety of agencies, such as the Chicago Public Schools, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Family and Children Services.
IDS Projects to Inform Policy
Summary: This issue brief focuses on five social programs: foster care, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and juvenile and adult corrections in order to determine the extent that families are involved in multiple systems, the overlap of needs and service delivery has significant implications for the overall state budget and for how services might be organized and provided more efficiently and effectively. Although some Illinois human service agencies do have data that are linked across programs, that data is seldom used to discern patterns that show whether and how populations are served by multiple programs. The State of Illinois and Chapin Hall are working together on a study to identify the numbers and characteristics of these families, whom we term multi-system families—families that use services from more than one agency or service system. This information should help state and agency officials better understand the distribution of needs and service use among Illinois families and help with more efficient deployment of resources. This issue brief provides some preliminary findings from the study.
Link to Project Reports: Illinois Families and Their Use of Multiple Service Systems
Reading on Grade Level in Third Grade: How Is It Related to High School Performance and College Enrollment?
Summary: Without question, learning to read is a necessity in our increasingly literate society. For children, it is also a critical skill for success in school. In this study, researchers examine whether third-grade reading level can be used as an indicator of potential performance on four future educational outcome measures: eighth-grade reading level, ninth-grade course performance, high school graduation, and college attendance. We use administrative data from the Chicago Public Schools to follow one focus cohort of nearly 26,000 students from third grade through high school completion and into college in order to analyze the effect of reading ability on future achievement. In these analyses, we also identified those students who spent time in foster care at any point during their childhood. Third-grade reading level was shown to be significant predictor of eighth-grade reading level and ninth-grade course performance even after accounting for demographic characteristics and how a child’s school influences their individual performance. Third-grade reading level was also shown to be a predictor of graduation and college attendance, even when demographic characteristics were included as controls. However, results also indicate that the effect of third-grade reading level operates through eighth- and ninth-grade performance. Whether or not a student was ever in foster care had a small but significantly negative impact on eighth-grade reading level, ninth-grade course performance, and high school graduation. Even after considering background characteristics, poverty level, prior achievement and school effects, students who ever spent time in foster care—regardless of timing of entry, duration in care, or any other specification of that experience—have lower educational outcomes than their peers.