In March 2021, after the grand opening of our NorthStar Family Resource Center (NSFRC), we started collecting survey data as part of our evaluation. Our Community Research Coordinators enroll Resource Center patrons in our outcome evaluation, which involves completing a series of survey instruments (the Family Resource Scale, the Perceived Stress Scale, the Strengths and Difficulties Scale and the Protective Factors Survey). These instruments are completed by patrons upon their enrollment into the evaluation and follow ups are completed every six months. As part of this outcome evaluation, child safety and family well- being measures are collected through secondary data as well. The outcome evaluation seeks to answer the following questions:
- Is there any increase in the formal and informal resources and supports utilized by individuals and families that participated in services provided by project RCs?
- Is there a statistically significant decrease in the amount of stress (when such was a concern) experienced by parents in families that utilize services provided by project RCs?
- Among children and youth utilizing services linked to the Social and Emotional Competence protective factor, is there a reduction in social, behavioral, and emotional symptomology (when such was a concern) as reported by their parent/caregiver and youth?
- Is there significant improvement in the protective factors associated with family functioning/resiliency, nurturing and attachment, social supports, caregiver/practitioner relationship, and concrete supports among families that utilize services provided by project RCs?
Simultaneously, a process evaluation is being conducted, which includes an ongoing review of our day-to-day operations at the Resource Centers. This process evaluation involves key informant interviews, focus groups and ongoing assessment of our data, service array, and network of community collaborators. A highlight of our Process Evaluation is the Strengthening Families Self- Assessment Tool for Community Based Programs, which is administered to a team of staff and parents/caregivers who have participated in services at the RCs (our Community Ambassadors) and Community Partners. This process is helping us to identify the extent to which RC activities, processes, and functions are aligned with each protective factor.