Carol Hafford is a senior fellow in the Health Care Evaluation department, and previously spent 10 years in the Economics, Justice, and Society department. An applied anthropologist, her work focuses on improving human service programs to foster the well-being of children, youth, and families and taking a human-centered approach to policy and practice. She has led and contributed to national-level studies on early childhood and child welfare, youth transition to adulthood, family well-being, employment and self-sufficiency, homelessness and housing, family and community strengthening, and social service delivery and integration.
Areas of methodological expertise include engaging stakeholders with lived experience; ethnographic research; community-based, participatory research; comparative case studies; implementation and outcome evaluations using mixed methods approaches; implementation science; survey design and implementation, and evaluation technical assistance.
At NORC, she is the project director and co-PI for a multi-year, utilization-focused evaluation of early childhood training and technical assistance for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). She is working on another ACF study to understand how Head Start programs individualize and coordinate support services that are responsive to family needs and aligned with local community resources; she recently completed case studies that describe these strategies.
Hafford is also the project director for the Tribal Health Profession Opportunities Grant HPOG 2.0 Evaluation, also sponsored by ACF, and was the evaluation lead throughout Tribal HPOG 1.0 and 2.0. She was a member of the Tribal Evaluation Workgroup that produced A Roadmap for Collaborative and Effective Evaluation in Tribal Communities (2013); its principles guided the culturally responsive approach to the evaluation. She co-led the implementation analyses for the national evaluation of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program, sponsored by the Department of Labor, which also featured career pathways for high-demand jobs, accelerated learning approaches, and supportive services to participants.
Hafford works extensively with Tribal leaders, program staff, and community members to conduct studies that respect sovereignty, foster cultural and scientific rigor, build relationships, and share knowledge. For seven years, she was NORC's project director for two nationally representative studies in Indian Country: an in-person assessment of American Indian and Alaska Native housing needs and conditions (for HUD); and a survey of participation in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations and a demographic profile of participant characteristics (for USDA's Food and Nutrition Service). For other studies, she has worked closely with Tribal programs and practitioners to document service coordination between Tribal TANF and child welfare programs, use of culturally responsive interventions, planning and implementation of family preservation and support services, and Tribal-state/county partnerships.
Prior to joining NORC, Hafford conducted studies on home-and community-based child neglect prevention; court-child welfare-community collaborations for infants and toddlers in foster care; youth independent living; transitional living programs for runaway and homeless youth; and housing and community development initiatives. She has conducted ethnographic research on the socialization of children of immigrants into social support networks.
She is the author of Sibling caretaking in immigrant families: Understanding cultural practices to inform child welfare practice and evaluation.
Hafford is a fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology. She served on the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Committee on Child Maltreatment Research, Policy, and Practice for the Next Decade. She currently serves on the U.S. Census Bureau's National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations.