What Can Hurt (and Help) Decision Making in Older Adulthood

December 12, 2022 | Evident Change

Age-related declines in decision making in older adulthood are well-documented, and they can harm the financial, physical, and psychological health of older adults. Because of this, gaining insights into what can protect them against (or make them vulnerable to) poor decision making is important. This webinar, which summarizes recent research findings from Rush University Medical Center, examines the factors that can affect the quality of financial- and health care-related decision making of older adults and their susceptibility to scams. The presentation will also discuss the implications of the findings for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. (Materials: slide presentation) Presenters: Olivia M. Valdes is a senior research analyst for the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. In this role, she leads and conducts research projects to better understand and advance the financial well-being of adults in the United States. Valdes earned her BA from the University of South Florida and her PhD in experimental psychology from Florida Atlantic University. Patricia Boyle is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and a neuropsychologist with the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago. Boyle earned her PhD from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and completed her internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University. Her research focuses on the prevention of cognitive and functional decline in old age.

New Hampshire Child Welfare SDM® Risk Validation Study Report

October 10, 2022 | Evident Change

In 2019, the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) partnered with Evident Change to update their current suite of Structured Decision Making® (SDM) assessments. The goal of this study was to examine how the current risk assessment is performing across three SDM® principles of utility, accuracy, and equity. This risk validation study used a participatory approach, where a steering committee composed of agency leadership, agency supervisors, agency line staff, and staff from community partner agencies engaged in the process in partnership with DCYF and Evident Change. The steering committee was responsible for reviewing the validation analytics, vetting the analytics in relation to local practice, and ensuring that the resultant risk assessment was the most appropriate for use by DCYF staff with New Hampshire families.

Research Brief: New Hampshire Child Welfare Participatory SDM® Risk Validation Study

October 10, 2022 | Evident Change

In 2020, Evident Change and the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) used a collaborative, stakeholder-informed approach to conduct a participatory risk validation of the Structured Decision Making® (SDM) risk assessment.

This research brief shares highlights of participatory SDM® risk assessment validation process and a few key data considerations. A full report documents the entire research effort, study sample, research methods, and consensus-building process, while an accompanying case study shares more information on the collaborative process.

Case Study: Participatory SDM® Risk Validation in New Hampshire

October 10, 2022 | Andrea Bogie, Cayley Farrell, Chris Scharenbroch, Erin Wicke Dankert, MSW, Sierra Fischer

Growing knowledge about the limitations and potentially negative impact of using data-driven applications such as risk assessments has led research teams to create a more inclusive process for understanding the trade-offs in risk assessment implementation and validation. Evident Change and the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth, and Families used a collaborative, stakeholder-informed approach to conduct a participatory risk validation of the Structured Decision Making® (SDM) risk assessment in early 2020. This approach borrows principles of human-centered design and action research to center attention on those who are most impacted, to seek action to improve practice, and to study the effect of a practice improvement. Including and trusting impacted individuals and communities has been shown to increase empathy, generate new ideas, and be necessary to promote equity in implementation science.

Provider Outreach Guide

August 12, 2022 | Evident Change

A new tool guides justice system agencies in creating a more well-rounded service array to meet the needs of the people they serve. Many individuals who have been impacted by the juvenile and/or criminal justice systems have unaddressed needs and traumas. These needs often lead them to—and keep them in—a cycle of justice system involvement. This guide was created to help agencies make strong community and cross‑system connections that will ultimately improve the way people are treated and served.

RGV Community Resources

June 8, 2022 | Evident Change

As part of a study in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) area of Texas, Evident Change researchers created a list of resources available to the local community there. They provide services focused on mental health, substance use disorder, emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence, legal advocacy to victims and their families, and more. This resource is available to anyone in need of services or assistance. State and national resources are also included, so help is not limited to the RGV.

Using Administrative Data From APS: Opportunities and Considerations

May 31, 2022 | Evident Change

As more states improve their data systems, Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies are eager to examine administrative data to improve their work. This presentation will use non-technical language to review practical considerations related to organizing and analyzing APS administrative data. We will address approaches for handling erroneous and missing data, as well as defining metrics and comparing findings from multiple locations or programs. Reviewing these details can help practitioners generate more accurate conclusions and improve research quality in this important area. (Materials: slide presentation)

Presenter: Kenny Steinman has over 20 years’ experience collaborating with community leaders and agency professionals to conduct rigorous, relevant research. He was a faculty member of the Ohio State University’s College of Public Health for 11 years and most recently has focused his scholarly work on health policy and its intersection with family violence. Steinman’s projects include an assessment of Ohio’s APS system, evaluating programs to prevent child maltreatment in families who struggle with substance use, and how state efforts to expand Medicaid have helped Ohio residents. 

Data for Equity

May 5, 2022 | Evident Change

The Data for Equity program was created to help direct-service and other organizations build capacity for using data. Data for Equity can help agencies create internal cultures of accountability around equity, work toward sustainable reductions in racial and ethnic disparities, and rebuild systems in a way that supports equitable outcomes.

Randomized Controlled Trial Confirms Benefits of Team Decision Making® Meetings

March 2, 2022 | Evident Change

During its 20-year history, the Team Decision Making® (TDM™) approach has proven to benefit children by decreasing the chance of repeat maltreatment and by increasing the rates of reunification and placement stability. A recent study from Child Trends is the first randomized controlled trial of the TDM approach and offers stronger evidence of its efficacy.

Child Adversities, Midlife Health, and Elder Abuse: Application of Cumulative Disadvantage Theory to Understand Late Life Victimization

October 7, 2021 | Evident Change

Elder abuse victimization is increasingly recognized as a pressing public health concern. However, few empirical studies have investigated whether childhood adversities and poor physical and psychological health in midlife heighten risks for abuse in late life. The webinar will review prior literature on the topic; describe the methodological approach within a new study by the presenters; highlight major findings; and discuss implications for clinical practice, treatment, and future research on elder abuse. (Materials: slide presentation)


Scott Easton, PhD, is associate professor, chair of the Mental Health Department, and co-director of the Trauma Integration Initiative at the Boston College School of Social Work. His primary program of research investigates long-term health outcomes of adults who experienced early life-course trauma such as child sexual abuse.

Jooyoung Kong, PhD, focuses her research on the effects that childhood adverse experiences have on later-life health and well-being. Guided by the life-course perspective, she is interested in identifying risk factors that prolong the negative impact of childhood adversity on physical, psychological, and social health in adulthood and identifying resilience factors that can mitigate these harmful effects.