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Evaluating Family Support Services
Family support services are intended to strengthen families, improve parenting skills, promote child development, and enhance parental confidence. Methods include home visitation, child development assessment, parenting skills education, homemaker services, and social and emotional support services.
Research on the effectiveness of family support services has examined the comparative effectiveness of different program models and the extent to which programs improve outcomes, including preventing maltreatment, decreasing the use of foster care, enhancing placement stability, and reunifying families. Resources include State and local examples.
Evaluation Toolkit and Logic Model Builder
FRIENDS National Resource Center & Child Welfare Information Gateway
Supplies tools for child abuse and neglect prevention, family support, and parenting programs to evaluate their effectiveness in improving outcomes for children and families.
Assessing the Need for Evidence-Based Home Visiting (EBHV): Experiences of EBHV Grantees (PDF - 3615 KB)
Paulsell & Coffee-Borden (2010)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, & Mathematica Policy Research
Provides information about how EBHV grantees planned needs assessments and collected data. This brief also addresses issues that aided or hindered grantees in carrying out the assessments and discusses lessons learned.
Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Includes numerous reports from a project that began in 1996 to evaluate the impact of the Early Head Start program on key child and family outcomes in three phases: birth to age 3, pre-kindergarten, and elementary school. Reports address evaluation design and components, local and cross-site measurement instruments, observation and interview protocols, research to practice information, and more.
An Evaluation of Family Group Decision Making With Native American Families Toolkit (PDF - 730 KB)
Casey Family Programs (2011)
Presents a toolkit that contains surveys and guides to help communities that are interested in conducting their own evaluations of family group decision-making meetings.
Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness (HomVEE)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Presents the results of a research review that assessed the evidence of effectiveness for home visiting program models designed for families with pregnant women and children up to age 5. The website provides program model reports, outcome domain reports, implementation profiles, a study search tool, and more.
Lifecourse Interventions to Nurture Kids Successfully (LINKS)
Offers an online database of program evaluations across various domains of child well-being that target children from birth to early adulthood. Programs include early childhood education and home visiting.
State and local examples
15-Month Impacts of Oklahoma's Family Expectations Program (PDF - 12,278 KB)
Devaney & Dion (2010)
Mathematica Policy Research
Presents findings from both an analysis of the implementation experience of the Family Expectations (FE) program in Oklahoma City and a rigorous evaluation of program impacts on couple and family outcomes. The FE program is designed to strengthen the relationships of low-income couples who are expecting a baby or have just had a baby through relationship skills education, family support coordinators, and supportive services.
Indiana IV-E Child Welfare Waiver Demonstration Extension Final Evaluation Report: A Report for the Children's Bureau Prepared for the Indiana Department of Child Services (PDF - 1,680 KB)
Loman, Filonow, & Siegel (2011)
Indiana Department of Child Services & Institute of Applied Research
Discusses the final evaluation of a 5-year extension of the Indiana title IV-E waiver, whose purpose was to find more effective and less costly ways of keeping families intact by providing support and wrap-around services that met child and family needs.
Performance Audit: Department of Economic Security, Division of Children, Youth and Families, Child Protective Services: In-Home Services Program (PDF - 617 KB)
Arizona Office of the Auditor General (2012)
Describes the types of services provided to families as well as the relationship between agency staff and contractors who provide those services. The audit recommends that the agency can strengthen in-home services by better incorporating the use of evidence-based practices.
Process Evaluation of Georgia's Integrated Family Support Demonstration Project: Findings From First Year Implementation Efforts
Snyder, Martínez, Sherman, Ujamaa, & Zhou (2008)
Georgia Health Policy Center of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
Summarizes findings from a pilot project in Cobb County, Georgia, that aimed to reduce child abuse and neglect and improve child health by providing support to families with infants and young children at highest risk for child maltreatment.
Supporting Low-Income Parents of Young Children: The Palm Beach County Family Study Fourth Annual Report (PDF - 3288 KB)
Spielberger, Rich, Winje, & Scannell (2010)
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Presents findings from Florida's Palm Beach County system of prevention and early intervention services, whose goals are to promote and support the healthy development and school readiness of children from birth to age 8. The study observed changes in family characteristics, service use, and selected maternal and child outcomes over time.