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Sarah Carnochan

Research Director, Mack Center on Nonprofit Management in the Human Services

SARAH CARNOCHAN is the research director of the Mack Center on Nonprofit and Public Sector Management in the Human Services.

Her research interests relate to social service delivery systems, organizational change and learning and evidence-informed practice. She works closely with partner agencies in the Bay Area Social Services Consortium (BASSC) and the Bay Area Network of Nonprofit Human Service Agencies to design and conduct applied research responsive to the information needs of leaders, managers and practitioners.

Dr. Carnochan's current projects include the Child Welfare Case Record Review Project, which is aimed at mapping the narrative content of child welfare records; the Evidence-Informed Practice Survey examining staff use of evidence in county social service agencies; the Recession Impacts Project examining organizational responses of county social service agencies to budget cuts during the Great Recession; and the Funder-Fundee Project exploring performance measurement in the context of contractual relationships between county and nonprofit human service agencies.

Her past projects have examined performance measurement challenges among nonprofit human service agencies; the experiences of employers in county subsidized employment programs; and relationships between legal and child welfare professionals in the juvenile dependency system. 


  • Social Service Delivery Systems
  • Organizational Change and Learning 
  • Evidence-Informed Practice
  • Child Welfare


Expanded Publications

Carnochan, S. & Austin, M. J. (2013). Redefining the bureaucratic encounter between service providers and service users: Evidence from the Norwegian HUSK projects. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work (In press).

Carnochan, S. (2013). Low-wage work: A synthesis of major social science concepts. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment. (In press).

Carnochan, S., Samples, M., Myers, M. & Austin, M. J. (2013). Performance measurement challenges in nonprofit human service organizations. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. (In press).

Carnochan, S., Samples, M. W., Lawson, J. & Austin, M. J. (2013). The context of child welfare performance measures. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work. 10(3), 147-160.

Carnochan, S., Rizik-Baer, D. & Austin, M. J. (2013). Preventing the recurrence of maltreatment.Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 10(3),161-178.

Carnochan, S., Rizik-Baer, D. & Austin, M. J. (2013). Preventing re-entry to foster care. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work,10(3),196-209.

Carnochan, S., Lee, C. & Austin, M. J. (2013). Achieving timely reunification. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work.10(3),179-195.

Carnochan, S., Lee, C. & Austin, M. J. (2013). Achieving exits to permanency for children in long term care. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 10(3), 220-234.

Carnochan, S., Moore, M. & Austin, M. J. (2013). Achieving timely adoption. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 10(3), 210-219.

Carnochan, S., Moore, M. & Austin, M. J. (2013). Achieving placement stability. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work,10(3), 235-253.

Samples, M. W., Carnochan, S. & Austin, M. J. (2013). Using performance measures to manage child welfare outcomes: Local strategies and decision-making. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 10(3), 254-264.

Austin, M. J., Regan, K., Samples, M. W., Schwarz, S. L., Carnochan, S. (2011). Building managerial and organizational capacity in nonprofit human service organizations through a leadership development program. Administration in Social Work, 35(3), 258-281.

Carnochan, S. & Austin, M. J. (2011). Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth: A pioneering child advocacy organization (1974 – 2008). Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 8 (1-2), 87-105.

Han, M., Carnochan, S. & Austin, M. J. (2007). Factors contributing to perceived difficulty in child welfare and court inter-professional collaboration: An exploratory study of case records. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 1(3), 115-131.

Carnochan, S., Taylor, S., Abramson-Madden, A., Han, M., Rashid, S., Maney, J., Teuwen, S. & Austin, M. J. (2007). Child welfare and the courts: An exploratory study of the relationship between two complex systems. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 1(1), 117-136.

Carnochan, S., Ketch, V., De Marco, A., Taylor, S., Abramson, A. & Austin, M.J. (2005).  Assessing the initial impact of welfare reform: A synthesis of research studies (1998-2002). Social Policy Journal, 4 (1), 3-31.

Hartman, C. & Carnochan, S. (2002). City for sale: The transformation of San Francisco, 2d Edition. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Carnochan, S. & Austin, M. J. (2002). Implementing welfare reform and guiding organizational change. Administration in Social Work, 26 (1), 61-77.

Mason, M. A., Fine, M. A. & Carnochan, S. (2001). Family law in the new millennium: For whose families? Journal of Family Issues, 22 (7), 859-881.

Austin, M. J., Martin, M., Carnochan, S., Goldberg, S., Berrick, J. D., Weiss, B. & Kelley, J. (1999). Building a comprehensive agency-university partnership: A case study of the Bay Area Social Services Consortium. Journal of Community Practice, 6 (3), 89-106.