Afterschool Program Evaluation Afterschool programs are designed to positively impact a variety of student outcomes, including academic performance, social skills, and behavioral problems. The Afterschool Program Evaluation Project examines federally and state-funded afterschool programs in the state of Connecticut. The Center staff consult with the State Department of Education, the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), Education Connection, and the Connecticut Afterschool Network to evaluate and assess changes in student outcomes among student’s attending afterschool programs funded through Connecticut State Department of Education funding and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers national initiative.
Housing and Child Welfare Families in the child welfare system often face poor housing conditions, housing instability, or frank homelessness. These housing concerns not only contribute to neglect, the most common reason for child protection referral, but also complicate attempts to reunify families when children are placed in foster care. The Intensive Supportive Housing for Families (ISHF) is a demonstration project administered through the CT Department of Children and Families (DCF), funded through a five-year grant from the federal Administration for Children and Families, aims to increase stability and positive outcomes for families who are at risk for separation or reunification. Intensive case management services are provided to these families via The Connection, Inc. Center faculty and staff provide program evaluation and lead dissemination and sustainability activities in programs where housing is a platform for family intervention.
Crossover Youth (COY) The first phase of this project aimed to describe the crossover youth (COY) population in Connecticut: their demographics, child welfare involvement, and juvenile justice involvement. Center researchers identified factors among child welfare-involved youth that predict later involvement in the juvenile justice system. Data was matched and de-identified by Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Child Protection (CP) division of the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters, and the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) of the Juvenile Branch.The second phase of this project aims to gain a broader understanding of the experiences and outcomes of crossover youth by re-matching data from DCF, CP, and CSSD, as well as adding data from the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) and the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). Currently Phase II is in the matching stage but areas of future research interest are related to developing patterns that utilize education and homelessness data to see if more nuanced trajectories are identified and whether there are points of identification for family intervention before youth and family involvement in either the child welfare or juvenile justice systems.
Evaluation of School Attendance Model Kindergarten Program (Attendance Works) Regular kindergarten attendance bodes well for long-term academic success; it predicts later attendance and academic achievement. The CARHD has partnered with the Office of Policy and Management to evaluate its work with ten school districts across Connecticut in an effort to improve kindergarten attendance. To accomplish this goal, school districts hired outreach workers to identify at-risk students as early as possible, and connect their families to resources that may help keep the children in school.
Positive BOOST Positive Behavior in Out-of-School Time (Positive BOOST) is a program created by Center staff to improve the culture and environments of afterschool programs. An adaptation of schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) for out-of-school time (including afterschool programs), Positive BOOST includes a toolkit, video/dvd, and an online learning system (OLS). The program engages district leadership, program managers, and frontline staff in a professional development program and intervention intended to teach expectations, encourage desired behaviors, and discourage problem behaviors among participants. Center staff conducted the first pilot study of Positive BOOST in 2012 in partnership with the CT State Department of Education, and Center staff continue to provide support, consultation, and evaluation of the Positive BOOST program that has expanded across schools in Connecticut. We are thankful to our partners Mazzarella Media and the Capitol Region Education Council for their continued support and dedication to this work.
UConn People Empowering People (PEP) Program The UConn People Empowering People (PEP) program is a personal and family development program with a strong community focus. The aim of the UConn PEP program is to help participants build a stronger community for themselves and their children. Developed by UConn’s Cooperative Extension department, the 10 week PEP program includes workshop sessions and community projects. In collaboration with Dr. Cathy Love, the Center staff assess the effectiveness of the programs, including the impact of training on the three levels of social functioning (individual, relationship, and community).
Evaluation of Local Head Start/Early Head Start Programs EASTCONN’s partnership with UConn involves a holistic method of gathering information from a family functioning framework that integrates assessments, goal setting data, and family/staff feedback to enhance programming and family growth. Assessments and goal setting inform service needs while feedback forms provide information about staff/family experiences. Reports generated from these methods inform managers’ decision making on program improvement, staff training, and other areas of need and strength.