Author: Patricia Chamberlain, Lonnie R. Snowden, Courtenay Padgett, Lisa Saldana, Jennifer Roles, Lisa Holmes, Harriet Ward, Jean Soper, John Reid, John Landsverk

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In decisions to adopt and implement new
practices or innovations in child welfare, costs are often a
bottom-line consideration. The cost calculator, a method
developed in England that can be used to calculate unit
costs of core case work activities and associated administrative
costs, is described as a potentially helpful tool for
assisting child welfare administrators to evaluate the costs
of current practices relative to their outcomes and could
impact decisions about whether to implement new practices.
The process by which the cost calculator is being
adapted for use in US child welfare systems in two states is
described and an illustration of using the method to compare
two intervention approaches is provided.