Given the uncertainty that families face because of the public health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, direct service work has become indispensable. WRI developed a qualitative evaluation project early in the pandemic to examine the range of responses from a group of direct service organizations as they acknowledged, responded to, and worked to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on the families and communities they serve.
WRI joins the Community Planning and Advocacy Council (CPAC) in Camden County as its research partner, focused on evaluating the efficacy of current services and assessing needs. The Human Services Needs Assessment in Camden County will employ quantitative and qualitative analysis using a mix of county data mining, stakeholder interviews, and virtual focus groups to determine the county’s priority needs and service areas.
WRI is working with the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) on a training, process and outcome evaluation for New Jersey DCF’s Kinship Navigator Program (KNP). New Jersey’s KNP supports caregivers who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their relatives’ children.
WRI is partnering with the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and Cooper’s Ferry Partnership to gather valuable information about the region’s workforce. The project, Seeking Work in South Jersey, aims to better understand the barriers facing both employers looking to hire and job seekers looking to connect or re-connect to the workforce.
In April 2020, WRI released a report written by Faculty Fellow Michael Hayes examining the 25 largest South Jersey school districts’ financial status and vulnerability to financial recession. This follow up brief examines the financial status of all 179 school districts in southern New Jersey.
In partnership with the Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ), WRI is evaluating the efficacy and impact of various health and wellness education programs that the organization coordinates throughout the region. The project is slated for completion in March 2021.