Academic journal article Child Welfare

An Analysis of Selected Measures of Child Well-Being for Use at School- and Community-Based Family Resource Centers

Academic journal article Child Welfare

An Analysis of Selected Measures of Child Well-Being for Use at School- and Community-Based Family Resource Centers

Article excerpt

This article describes standardized instruments designed to measure physical and emotional health outcomes among children for a statewide implementation of community-and school-based family resource centers. It includes descriptive and psychometric information, strengths and weaknesses of two measures of physical well-being, and four measures of emotional and behavioral well-being, based on criteria selected by the evaluation team. The authors conclude by recommending those instruments that accommodated the evaluation goals of the family support programs.

Public and private funding sources increasingly hold agencies that serve children and families responsible for presenting service outcomes as indications of their accountability. A state Department of Education, to which the authors served as evaluation consultants, developed a toolkit for 38 schools and communities. The Department of Education received funding to implement community- and school-based family resource centers to help participating resource centers evaluate their respective programs.

The Family Coalition of America defines family support

(1) as a program, (2) as a set of principles based on premises, (3) as a social framework, and (4) as all of the supports necessary in communities and neighborhoods to ensure that children have good outcomes-that they grow up to reach maximum potential and to be self-sufficient (National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice, 1997, p. 10).

The family support services in the current study were situated in schools or social service agencies throughout the state. The 38 programs evaluated in this study had three characteristics in common:

* Services were delivered and monitored through a collaborative effort of several agencies.

* The school-based centers aimed to improve school readiness-especially to increase school attendance and school performance and decrease nonacademic obstacles to these achievements.

* Family-support services were designed to prevent child abuse and promote individual, family, and community strengths.

The evaluation team produced a two-year qualitative and quantitative evaluation of these 38 programs before developing an evaluation toolkit (Brun, Dockery, Sweet-Holp, O'Connor, & Brannon, 1998). The evaluation findings included a significant weakness in evaluation ability within the family resource centers. Thus, the development of an evaluation toolkit was in order. The toolkit included a thorough critique of the standardized instruments used to measure children's physical and emotional health, providing alternative outcome measures for the 38 programs to use. The state's long-term goal was to implement reliably consistent statewide outcome measures across all these programs. The outcome measures the authors review here were mainly intended for a standardization of outcome evaluation procedures of both inschool and community-based family support programs.

The concept of in-school social service is hardly new. But in response to Jane Knitzer's book, Unclaimed Children (1982), the community-based systems of care for children with severe emotional disabilities have made various attempts to provide preventive family-support services for at-risk populations based in schools (Pumariega & Vance, 1999; Flaherty & Weist, 1999). Most of these services have been tailored for children (Lockman, 1992; Catron & Weiss, 1994), but some programs have designed services for strengthening all family members (Kumpfer & Turner, 1990-1991; Dunst, Trivette, & Deal, 1994; Felner, Brand, Mulhall, Counter, Millman, & Fried, 1994; McDonald et al., 1997). The current instrument critiques offer help for service providers facing the constant need to improve outcome evaluations of in-school and community-based services (Pecora, Fraser, Nelson, McCroskey, & Meezan, 1995; Lawson & Briar-Lawson, 1997; Schorr, 1994, 1998; Landsman, 1998). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.