Outcome Accountability for Community Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) programs has long been a major focus of FRIENDS’ activities. It is critical for (CBCAP) programs to demonstrate that desired outcomes are occurring as a result of their services. Good outcome evaluation is needed so that funders can see what results their money is buying and to assist programs ensure quality services.
It is our belief that if adequately funded, over a sufficient period of time, in enough communities, family support programs (like respite and crisis care, mutual self-help parent support groups, parent education classes, home visiting, etc.) can be expected to produce a progression of outcomes beginning with short term outcomes (engagement and learning), that lead to intermediate outcomes (behavior change), and eventually resulting in long term outcomes (population wide impact such as reduced risk/incidence of child abuse and neglect).
While it is important that family support program outcomes be rigorously evaluated, we believe that the appropriate initial level of evaluation rigor for family support programs is relative to the size, duration, and funding level of the program. In other words, a small community-based program that is not experienced in the methods of outcome evaluation should not be expected to conduct a rigorous, long term experimental model evaluation.They should, however, be expected to conduct evaluation activities on some meaningful level.
FRIENDS has developed entry-level tools for internal, participant-focused evaluations of CBCAP programs that can be used by programs that may have little to no previous experience in evaluation. These tools include The FRIENDS Outcome Accountability Guide, and the Family Support Program Outcome Survey, with guidebook and data-base. These tools are described on our OA Resources page.