The Charlottesville Department of Social Services (DSS) administers Family Services Programs locally, including Child Protective Services (CPS), Family Services, and Foster Care. Child welfare services in Virginia are
family-focused, child-centered, and community-based with a focus on permanence for all children (Stewart and Cleary 2011). Services are intended to protect children, preserve families, and prevent further maltreatment.
Child Welfare Study
DSS was interested in a study to examine and measure racial and other disparities in the child welfare caseload at points along the child welfare continuum. The University of Virginia (UVA) Public Interest Data Lab (the Lab) collaborated with DSS to complete a pilot study intended to help DSS better understand the presence and location of any differential outcomes to enable informed responses to uncovered disparities. The Lab was created to provide hands-on experience in data science to University of Virginia students in service of the public interest.
2019 Foster Care Study
As a second phase of the research, UVA completed another study in 2019 focusing on children in foster care.