This appendix describes the approach taken by the study to answer the central question: How can states take advantage of the Family Support Act to identify and meet the needs of children, and not just adults, in welfare families? In order to develop practical insights that could help states implement programs to meet those needs, the study relied for its primary source of evidence on programs already operating across the country. The site selection process aimed to identify programs that were operating successfully and seemed likely to make a difference in families' fives, as judged by the best evidence available. The study did not try to evaluate the long-run effectiveness of the services at changing life outcomes. Chapter 2 in the text discusses the nature and dimensions of program success across the study sites.
This appendix describes the process of selecting the research sites, the sample of sites as actually selected, the content of the site visits, and the limits of the site selection process and the site visits.
The process for selecting sites and the criteria for site selection had to respond to a number of constraints on the study. Probably most important, we did not know at the beginning of the project what kinds of programs linking welfare and the needs of children would be in existence and operating. No inventory existed -- no description of the universe from which sites were to be selected -- and in fact, one by-product of the site selection process was a reasonable sketch of that universe.