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ERIC Number: ED535521
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
What Works and Why We Don't Have Enough of It: Voices of Families from Allegheny County's Family Support Centers. Phase I Evaluation: What Matters Most to Families
Bell, Sheila; Li, Junlei
University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development
The purpose of this report is to listen to families about "what" mattered most to them and "how" family support has impacted their lives. The findings of this report represent a synthesis of families' voices from 8 focus groups and 35 individual interviews, conducted at centers, office meetings, and homes--with over 100 family members across 13 family support centers in Allegheny County. Findings revealed that families need a "hub" that both link them to basic necessities and services and provide a safe and caring place for children to grow and for families to be with each other. These needs are continuous and not bound by age limits. "When it works," Family Support plays an enormously important and positive role in the lives of the families. Its comprehensive goals and flexible execution enables continuous and responsive support for the needs of the whole family. The resourceful and persevering staff can support families to grow, give back, and lay solid foundations for caring relationships to develop in the larger community. But family support "can not do and be everything." Over time, its mission has been increasingly crowded without added financial resources or expanded human capacity. There are mismatches between what mattered most to families and what is prioritized and "counted" by the system. The authors hope the voices of families can spur a pragmatic examination of system-wide and site level policies and help refocus the family support mission and service delivery to intersect "the most universally achievable outcomes with the most unmet needs."
University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development. 400 North Lexington Street Suite LL104, Pittsburgh, PA 15208. Tel: 412-244-5447; Fax: 412-244-5425; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: University of Pittsburgh, Office of Child Development
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania