Evaluation of the Supportive Housing for Families (SHF) and Connecting Children and Families (CCF) Programs (2006-Present)
Drs. Anne Farrell and Preston Britner have served as the external evaluation team for The Connection, Inc. of Middletown, CT for over a decade, working mostly with their supportive housing program, Supportive Housing for Families, and their therapeutic foster care program, Connecting Children and Families. Their work involves technical assistance to program staff, State agencies, and other stakeholders as well as conducting program evaluation and related research in order to provide both formative and summative feedback to the programs in an on-going manner.
Initial CARHD involvement included a review of the published research literature on intervention models of relevance to SHF, a client-focused system that wraps services around clients, focuses on the family as the unit of analysis, includes housing as a key element to intervention, and links parent mental health and/or substance use assessment/treatment to child welfare services/outcomes. Center staff also reviewed the psychometric properties of the measures/instruments used in the program and also other potential measures to tap key constructs of the service model and outcomes of interest; conducted focus groups and interviews with staff, clients, and national experts; analyzed data from existing data sources; and, made recommendations for model improvement and further longitudinal evaluation.
Subsequently, CARHD faculty and graduate research assistants conducted an analysis of client characteristics and outcomes for the Supportive Housing for Families (SHF) program. This analysis provided endorsement for the intensive case management model employed by SHF, resulted in program adjustments, and served as the basis for continuing collaboration. CARHD staff also conducted a literature review on intensive and therapeutic supports for youth in foster care with developmental and behavioral difficulties. The final report for this phase outlined existing data on the population; literature analysis and justification for the current vs. alternative program models; and, recommendations for the program model, measurement, and longitudinal analysis.
The CARHD faculty and UConn graduate students then assisted in the development of screening protocols and tools for housing initiatives, and providing technical assistance on methods of assessing client risk, progress, and outcomes. The CARHD team, in close collaboration with The Connection, Inc. and the CT Department of Youth and Families, is conducting a pilot study of an assessment instrument to be used in family triage and program assignment. The team is also conducting an assessment of foster parent experiences within the Connecting Children and Families Program, which provides intensive supports for youth in foster care who also have developmental and behavioral difficulties.
Evaluation of Connecticut’s Federally and State Funded After School Programs (2007 – Present)
The Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) sponsors this work, which includes providing technical assistance to program providers and conducting program evaluation research. The SDE supports after school programs through both federal- and state-level funding streams. The federal programs are funded through 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), a national initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education that supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours. The State of Connecticut also provides funding for after-school programs through the Connecticut After School Grant Program, as defined in Section 10-16x(g) and amended by Section 26 of Public Act 07-3 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
The SDE contracted with the Center to provide technical assistance and evaluation of both types of programs. In this role, CARHD staff have consulted with SDE on development of an evaluation design and creation of evaluation instruments, including an End of Year report in which program providers detail their activities over the course of the school year. In addition, Center staff have created and managed databases, analyzed data, and prepared reports. Current efforts involve analysis of data from the End of Year reports as well as individual-level about student participants’ academic achievement, school day attendance, and school day behavior.
Evaluation of the Early Head Start Expansion Project (2010 – Present)
EastCONN sponsors this work, in which CARHD Research Associate Dr. JoAnn Robinson and a team of graduate students are conducting a process and outcome evaluation of the Early Head Start Expansion project. The project involves: consulting with the EastCONN planning team to refine statement of program values, identify key infant mental health activities, and family goal planning processes; consulting with EHS managers and staff to gather and summarize family goal planning progress; observing home visits and playgroup processes and gathering information about child development progress; conducting and analyzing data from focus groups with parents and staff; and reporting recommended program modifications.
Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) in 21st Century After School Programs (2010 – Present)
CARHD research associate Dr. Anne Farrell and colleagues are working with the Connecticut State Department of Education and Capital Region Education Council (CREC) to conduct a feasibility and demonstration project on positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) in 21st Century After School Programs. The project includes: preparation of an evidence brief on PBS in after school settings (completed); development, refinement, and assessment of the feasibility, reliability, and validity of an evaluation tool to examine fidelity and quality of PBIS components in afterschool settings (in development); development and production of a DVD introduction to positive cultures in afterschool programs (nearing completion); training, technical assistance, and consultation with State personnel and providers; and preparation of reports and recommendations for future work in this area (ongoing).
Positive Behavior in Out Of School Time (P-Boost) (2013-Present)
CARHD research associate Dr. Anne Farrell and colleagues work to embed Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) in participating 21st Century Community Learning Centers (afterschool programs) in Connecticut. The P-BOOST team oriented program leadership staff to PBIS, provided professional development to after school professionals who work directly with children and youth, and developed and disseminated curriculum materials support PBIS knowledge, competencies, and implementation. The current demonstration project incorporates three levels of implementation support, including (a) regular fidelity reviews, (b) performance feedback to staff, and (c) coaching related to program-level and staff-level change. Implementation is assessed through adapted PBIS measures (i.e., School-wide Evaluation Tool, Benchmarks of Quality) and a developed staff-level measure, Measure of Active Supervision and Interaction (MASI). Current work includes evaluation of the demonstration project, preparation of reports and publications, and development for subsequent project iterations. P-BOOST is supported by Connecticut State Department of Education and Capital Region Education Council (CREC).
Check back soon or email Dr. Melissa Collier-Meek (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in P-BOOST materials or consultation.
School Attendance Model Kindergarten Program (2014-Present)
CARHD has been contracted by the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management in conjunction with the Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division to develop and evaluate a model designed to improve kindergarten attendance. The model requires that outreach workers be designated to work specifically with kindergarteners in schools throughout Connecticut to support their school attendance. Participating schools are expected to monitor the attendance of all kindergarten students. The outreach worker will contact kindergarten students identified early on as being, or at risk of becoming, chronically absent. Another level of intervention addresses students who experience a period of chronic absenteeism, and involves home visits and connecting families with needed community resources.
The Center is assisting eleven school districts implement the model and manage data collection. The Center provides training to outreach workers, manages a central database, conducts data analyses, and provides reports summarizing the evaluation results.