The diverse composition of American families and changing ways of raising our children have become subjects of intense scrutiny by researchers and policymakers in recent years. Shifting demographics and work patterns, growing numbers of women in the work force, teenage pregnancy, single-parent families, and the deinstitutionalization of the elderly, disabled, and mentally ill--all these trends have significantly affected family life. Evaluating Family Programs effectively bridges the gap between researchers and practitioners in order to bring practical, understandable advice to providers of family programs and to program funders and policymakers.

Heather B. Weiss and Francine H. Jacobs have collected in this volume works which move outside the traditional approaches of their disciplines to create new models for delivering and evaluating services. This sets a mood of genuine inquiry and excitement about successful aspects of programs while maintaining openness about the limitations of both research and practice. By expanding the research model, this work is an attempt to understand reciprocal influences of extended family, culture, community, and social institutions. It urges those who advocate program accountability to understand that not all types of evaluations are appropriate for all programs, and it notes that limitations in current evaluation technologies make it difficult to evaluate outcomes.

Evaluating Family Programs reminds the reader that in order to develop sound family policy we must look at children and families in context. Beacuse policymakers, program administrators, and informed citizens have come to rely more upon the results of evaluation research, we must improve our methods while not losing sight of its limitations. It is a thought-provoking contribution to the efforts of those who seek to support the American family with compassion, understanding, and realism.

part I|68 pages

The State of Our Knowledge about Program Effectiveness

part II|148 pages

Measuring Child, Parent, and Family Outcomes

chapter 3|22 pages

Rethinking the Assessment of Child-Focused Outcomes

ByPenny Hauser-Cram, Jack P. Shonkoff

chapter 5|22 pages

Measuring Parent Outcomes in Family Program Evaluation

ByCarole C. Upshur

chapter 6|24 pages

Measuring Family Systems Outcomes

ByDeborah Klein Walker, Ruth W. Crocker

chapter 7|18 pages

Measures of Stress and Coping in Families

ByMarty Wyngaarden Krauss

chapter 7|22 pages

Social Support: Conceptualization and Measurement

ByPaul D. Cleary

part III|210 pages

Evaluation Experiences: Case Studies from the Field

chapter 9|18 pages

Lessons from the Evaluation of the Brookline Early Education Project

ByTerrence Tivnan

chapter 12|16 pages

The Evaluation Experience of the Avance Parent–Child Education Program

ByGloria G. Rodriguez, Carmen P. Cortez

chapter 13|12 pages

Prove to Me that Meld Makes a Difference

ByAnn Ellwood

chapter 14|32 pages

Toward Experimental Evaluation of the Family, Infant and Preschool Program 1

ByCarl J. Dunst, Carol M. Trivette

chapter 16|18 pages

The Child Welfare League of America’s Adolescent Parents Project

ByShelby H. Miller

chapter 17|18 pages

Studying Complexity: The Case of the Child and Family Resource Program

ByMarrit J. Nauta, Kathryn Hewett

chapter 18|20 pages

Using an Impact Evaluation Model with Too-Early-Childbearing Programs

ByDeborah Klein Walker, Anita M. Mitchell

part IV|70 pages

Current Issues in Theory and Policy

chapter 19|16 pages

Cost Analyses in Family Support Programs

ByKarl R. White

chapter 22|20 pages

Ecological Perspectives on Change in Families

ByBarry Dym

chapter |10 pages

Lessons in Context

ByFrancine H. Jacobs, Heather B. Weiss