University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Focus Area: Strengthening Families

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 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.


Evaluation of UConn People Empowering People (PEP) program

The UConn PEP program is a 10-week personal, family, and leadership development program with a strong community focus. UConn PEP participants work together to make their community a better place for themselves and their children through workshop sessions and community projects. This program was developed and is administered through the University’s Cooperative Extension department and coordinated by Dr. Cathy Love. The Center is evaluating the PEP program in coordination with the Extension. Center Director Dr. Anne Farrell and UConn graduate students are conducting an analysis of participant characteristics and outcomes, including the impact of training on the three levels of social functioning (individual, relationship, and community). The Center has consulted on the design of the evaluation and evaluation meaures, which include pre- and post-training questionnaires and a 6-month follow-up questionnaire.