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Mass Healthy Families Evaluation Essay

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36.

Evaluations

Program Evaluations and Needs Assessments

TIER researchers regularly serve as evaluation partners for non-profit and government organizations. TIER's evaluations are designed in collaboration with program and policy leads, reflecting TIER's commitment to conducting accessible and useful evaluations that simultaneously satisfy funders, help programs improve practices and build their own evaluation capacity, and advance the research field.

Massachusetts Healthy Families Evaluation (MHFE) Phases 1, 2, and Phase 2-Early Childhood (MHFE-2-EC)

For the past decade, our team of researchers has been contracted by The Children's Trust of Massachusetts to evaluate the Healthy Family Massachusetts newborn home visiting program (HFM). In 2005 we completed our first phase of evaluation, the Massachusetts Healthy Families Evaluation (MHFE-1). In 2008, we began collecting data for the second phase of the HFM evaluation (MHFE-2). MHFE-2 is a randomized controlled trial designed not only to assess whether or not HFM is meeting its five stated long-term goals, but also to examine the ways in which participants' personal, family, program, and community contexts influence and/or explain program utilization and program outcomes. Study participants were randomly assigned to a program group (called the Home Visiting Services group [HVS]) or control group (Referrals and Information Only group [RIO]).

To date, TIER has collected five waves of data; the fourth and fifth waves are part of the Massachusetts Healthy Families Evaluation-2 Early Childhood Study (MHFE-2-EC), which is funded through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH). MHFE-2-EC examines the long-term impacts of the HFM on children and families. Currently we are collecting a sixth round of data.

Contact Rebecca Fauth for more information.

Massachusetts Home Visiting Initiative (MHVI)

The Massachusetts Home Visiting Initiative (MHVI), a federal-funded program administered by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), is an expansion and enhancement of home visiting services in 17 high-need Massachusetts communities. MHVI is intended to effect change in early childhood systems of care at the individual, family, program, community, and state levels. Its success, as envisioned by MDPH, is predicated both on its ability to provide evidence-based home visiting services with fidelity to the model and to facilitate the community- and state systems-levels of collaboration and change necessary to ensure an early childhood system of care that is comprehensive, coordinated, responsive to families' needs, and sustainable over the long term.

The Tufts evaluation of MHVI is a cross-site MHVI implementation study that investigates programmatic and operational activities of MHVI at the program, family, and individual levels with a focus on program processes, operations, and integration into, and expansion of, existing systems of care. Information generated from this study should facilitate improved operational and programmatic coordination and efficiency at the state and community levels.

Contact Jessica Goldberg for more information.

United Way's Summer Learning Collaborative (SLC)

TIER is currently the evaluation partner for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, leading the evaluation of the United Way's Summer Learning Collaborative (SLC), a summer literacy initiative offered in more than 25 summer clubs and programs serving more than 2,000 Kindergarten through third grade children in low-income communities in the Greater Boston area.

Contact Rebecca Fauth for more information.

Smart from the Start (SMART)

TIER is working with Smart from the Start (SMART) to develop and implement a program evaluation. SMART is a family support, community engagement and school readiness program that aims to prevent the achievement gap among children living in the most disadvantaged communities in Boston by providing families with resources, tools, and support to break cycles of generational poverty and chronic school underachievement. SMART serves approximately 6,000 young children, adult caregivers, and school-aged siblings in 22 program sites.

Contact Jessica Goldberg for more information.

Prevention Initiative Needs Assessment

In collaboration with Professor Tom Stopka from the Tufts University Department of Public Health and Community Medicine and The Children's Trust of Massachusetts, TIER researchers are conducting a needs assessment in three Massachusetts communities (Athol/Orange, Cambridge, and Medford) to aid with the design of a new child maltreatment prevention initiative building on existing Children's Trust Family Centers. The goal of the new prevention initiative is to affect a population-level change in the rates of child abuse and neglect by shifting community norms and increasing available family support through a place-based, multiservice approach in several communities across the state.

Contact Rebecca Fauth for more information.