ERIC Number: ED469409
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Reference Count: N/A
Issues in Family Support Evaluation: Report from a Meeting of National Thought Leaders. Evidence along the Way.
This report highlights the input of leaders at a national meeting in October 2001 to discuss an evaluation framework for the family support field. The meeting marked the beginning of the Evidence Along the Way National Family Support Evaluation Project, an initiative to develop a comprehensive framework for evaluating how well the family support approach works. The report describes program evaluation as a complex storytelling task with high-stakes risks for many programs, and notes reasons why current methods of evaluation are not working. Also described is the variety of evaluation resources for the family support field developed by Family Support America. The current initiative is based on the view that developing a theory of change requires evaluators to clarify what the program does and how it does it. Such theories of change have been mapped for five of the six models of family support described in the report. Several areas of agreement presented in the report highlight the growing convergence within the field regarding the future of family support evaluation. Evaluation challenges are placed in priority and recommendations to meet these challenges identified. The report includes a self-evaluation process designed to identify the theory of change used in program evaluation. Future activities of the National Family Support Evaluation project are described as being organized around five areas: (1) mapping and tracking family support; (2) analyzing and reviewing the literature; (3) developing a flexible evaluation framework; (4) recommending evaluation methodologies; and (5) accrediting quality programs. The report concludes with descriptions of organizational, print, and Internet resources. (KB)
Descriptors: Evaluation Criteria, Evaluation Methods, Evaluation Needs, Evaluation Problems, Evaluation Research, Family Programs, Models, Program Effectiveness, Program Evaluation, Self Evaluation (Groups)
Family Support America, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 1100, Chicago, IL 60606. Tel: 312-338-0900; Fax: 312-338-1522; Web site: http://www.familysupportamerica.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ.
Authoring Institution: Family Support America, Chicago, IL.