Founded in 2010, Action Research conducts research, program evaluation, and policy analysis to improve human services for children, youth, and families.  We tailor each project to the needs of our partner and produce results that program staff and funders can use to make concrete decisions.


Operational Research and analysis

We use a range of social science methods to conduct operational and exploratory research, and analyze policies and systems. We tailor our work to the capacities and interests of our partners with the aim of producing results that program staff, policymakers, and funders can use to improve services. Bringing our national child welfare expertise, we work on a range of policy topics within child welfare: kinship placements, foster home recruitment, differential response, and prevention services, among other areas. We have a special facility with complex administrative data and deep knowledge of SACWIS systems, NCANDS, and AFCARS databases.

program evaluation

We evaluate programs, both formally and informally. We believe in using mixed methods that incorporate quantitative data, discussions with multiple layers of staff, and background research on context and history. Our team has expertise in statistical quantitative techniques as well as conducting focus groups, interviews, and understanding program operations, strengths and challenges. We bring a sophisticated understanding of the risks and rewards of research and how to partner with programs and program staff.

Performance measurement and continuous quality improvement

We help individual programs and organizations set up performance measurement systems that allow managers and staff to monitor their progress and improve their services. We assist organizations in analyzing data to track and improve programs and operations.


  • Annie E. Casey Foundation

  • American Bar Association

  • Broome County Department of Social Services

  • CAI Global

  • Casey Family Programs

  • Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence

  • Child Trends

  • Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

  • Dutchess County Department of Social Services

  • Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

  • Implex Partners

  • National Juvenile Defender Center

  • New York City Administration for Children’s Services

  • New York State Office of Children and Family Services

  • New York University School of Law

  • New Yorkers for Children

  • Public Catalyst

  • Redlich Horwitz Foundation

  • Vera Institute of Justice