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University of Kentucky College of Social Work

The University of Kentucky College of Social Work had approximately $3.7 million in external funding for FY 2004 and 2005 which supports a variety of research, education, and service programs. Housed within the College of Social Work, the Training Resource Center has 16 years of experience designing and implementing child welfare training, evaluation and service programs across the state of Kentucky, with 35 program staff and associated faculty supporting 15 programs, primarily in the area of child welfare. One of the current major projects is implementing the Southern Regional Quality Improvement Center on Child Protection, which subgranted research and demonstration projects in four states testing the impact of clinical supervision in frontline public child welfare on organizational culture, worker retention and practice, and outcomes for children and families.  The TRC has implemented quality control and fiscal program accountability processes including reporting requirements and deliverables based on each unique project’s objectives. Other programs include foster/adoptive parent support and training, independent living programs for foster youth, facilitating citizen review panels for child protection, a support program for TANF recipients enrolled at the university, and a faith-based mentoring program for children with imprisoned parents.

Faculty research and evaluation are integral parts of the college’s mission, and publication based on original research and on the findings of evaluation studies is expected. Recently, for example, faculty conducted the Kentucky Court Improvement Program Reassessment, and they are evaluating community-based prevention programs and a parenting program for imprisoned fathers (funded through the Children’s Bureau). Current research projects are in the areas of children’s mental health, drug and alcohol misuse, school mobility, work and family issues, welfare reform, and gender-related violence.

The UK Training Resource Center prides itself in building and engaging in collaborative and often multidisciplinary efforts. It is a member of a 11-university collaborative that works to educate child protective services staff and both graduate and undergraduate students in the area of child welfare. Collaborative activities include such things as interactive televised social work courses that prepare students to work in child protection.


Established in 1987, and located minutes from HHS Central Offices, Planning and Learning Technologies, Inc. (Pal-Tech) is an innovative, award-winning corporation committed to providing expert services with the highest levels of customer satisfaction and ethical behavior. We have been honored with the:

The following demonstrates our ability to manage multi-year projects with multiple components. 

Currently, Pal-Tech is leading The National Evaluation of the Court Improvement Program (CIP) in partnership with the Urban Institute and the Center for Policy Research. The five-year outcome and descriptive study of reforms undertaken by dependency courts that oversee foster care and adoption cases, is being conducted for the Children’s Bureau. The study is synthesizing information on reforms employed by state courts across the country, as well as evaluation findings of family court reforms. In-depth data analysis is occurring within three study sites (Connecticut, Texas, and Delaware). Information is being collected and extracted from a number of sources (management information systems, case records, observations of court proceedings, and individual and group interviews). A technical work group of leading researchers and experts has been assembled to provide input at key points during the project.

Pal-Tech has a long history of planning and facilitating the National Conferences on Child Abuse and Neglect for the Children’s Bureau. These conferences bring together thousands of national and local experts in the field to share their strategies and ideas for protecting children and supporting families and communities. We serve as the National Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Resource Center for the Head Start Bureau.

QIC PCW Study Team and Staff

Crystal Collins-Camargo, MSW CSW Ph.D.

University of Kentucky

Crystal Collins-Camargo teaches in the masters program at the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work, specializing in child welfare, supervision and policy. Dr. Collins-Camargo is director of the National Quality Improvement Center on the Privatization of Child Welfare Services, a knowledge development initiative that involves multi-site research and demonstration projects assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of provision of child welfare services by private organizations, and the nature of the public/private partnership required in such an approach. She also directed the Southern Regional Quality Improvement Center for Child Protection, which worked in a ten state region to promote knowledge development through research and demonstration projects focusing on the impact of clinical supervision on agency and client outcomes in child welfare and juvenile court systems. She was formerly program director for Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, and worked in the public child protection system as a worker, supervisor and statewide specialist.

Karl Ensign, MPP

Planning and Learning Technologies, Inc.

Mr. Ensign directed The External Evaluation of the Kansas Child Welfare System, an ongoing assessment which helped guide and refine the state’s privatization of services.  The evaluation involved tracking contractor performance and caseload trends, supplemented with qualitative information gathered through extensive yearly on-site visits to the central state office as well as each of the 11 area offices and private providers of family preservation, foster care and adoption services within each of the state’s five regions.  Mr. Ensign also assisted the state comply with their out-of-court settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union.  Clients, users and providers of service were asked about the availability, quality and timeliness of services; client outcomes; inclusivity and relevance of the planning process; and client transitions from one service area to another (for instance, from foster care to adoption).  As a result of the four-year project, monitoring was discontinued in 2001 as the ACLU agreed that the state had largely met established goals with respect to program improvement. 

Mr. Ensign also directed the National Evaluation of the Family Preservation and Family Support (FP/FS) Services Implementation Study, and the Implementation of the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program by Indian Tribes.  Both were multi-year efforts carried out for HHS.  Both projects included sites that had privatized their child welfare delivery system (e.g., the State of Florida and the Sioux Tribe).  Information was obtained through document review and in-depth on-site discussions with numerous stakeholders.  Results were synthesized in a series of issue papers, reports and verbal presentations.   

Prior to joining the private sector, Mr. Ensign was responsible for child welfare research, policy development, analysis and planning within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE, HHS).  During this time, he fulfilled a detail to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee where he conducted background research for Senate Bill 4, the Child Welfare and Preventive Services Act, introduced by Senator Lloyd M. Bentsen.  Although the Act did not successfully pass, it was widely recognized as the precursor to the 1993 FP/FS Act which Mr. Ensign also staffed from HHS.  The Act continues to provide needed funding for child abuse prevention to community based organizations and child welfare agencies.   

Teri A. Garstka, Ph.D.

Planning and Learning Technologies, Inc.

Dr. Teri A. Garstka received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology with a Quantitative Minor in 1997 at the University of Kansas. She has experience conducting process and outcome evaluations in the health and human services field, as well as providing evaluation-related technical assistance. Dr. Garstka has over 10 years of professional project management experience, working with large multi-study federally funded grants in the social sciences. Additionally, she has coordinated all research activities of large multi-study research programs, including coordinating over 15 independent experimental projects, collaborating with PI on study designs and materials, incorporating new software applications and technology, performing extensive data analyses, publishing over 14 peer-reviewed articles, and presenting results to national and international research communities.

As a Senior Research Associate at Planning and Learning Technologies, Dr. Garstka responds to requests for proposals and capability statements to evaluate child welfare and related programs, and to provide technical assistance in evaluation for pilot demonstration programs and special initiatives. Dr. Garstka conducts all aspects of evaluation including developing evaluation frameworks and designing evaluation strategies, collecting data and information to determine intervention effectiveness, analyzing the information collected, and drafting final reports and deliverables.


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