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April 2009Vol. 10, No. 3Replicating Effective Prevention: Children's Bureau Grantees

In fiscal year 2003, the Children's Bureau issued a funding announcement for the Replications of Demonstrated Effective Programs in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Program Announcement CB-2003-01.D1). The Children's Bureau awarded 5-year cooperative agreements to eight organizations, all of which proposed to replicate the critical components of Family Connections (FC), a community-based, comprehensive child neglect prevention program that aims to promote the safety, well-being, and stability of children, families, and communities. The following are the eight Replication sites and their target populations:

  • Asian Pacific Counseling and Treatment Center: At-risk Cambodian and Korean immigrant families living in Los Angeles, CA
  • Black Family Development Inc.: Families in high-risk neighborhoods of Detroit and Highland Park, MI
  • Child and Family Tennessee: At-risk families in the Empowerment Zone in Knoxville, TN
  • Children's Institute Inc.: At-risk families with 0- to 3-year-old children living in South Los Angeles, CA
  • DePelchin Children's Center: Families with 5- to 14-year-old children attending schools in Dickinson, TX
  • Respite Care of San Antonio: Families with children with disabilities living in San Antonio, TX
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore: At-risk intergenerational families living in Baltimore, MD
  • Youth Health Service, Inc.: Rural families living in Barbour and Randolph Counties, WV

The Children's Bureau funded James Bell Associates to conduct a cross-site evaluation of the Prevention Replications projects. The evaluation consists of process, cost, and outcome components. The interim findings were recently documented in a report, National Cross-Site Evaluation of the Replication of Demonstrated Effective Prevention Programs (Family Connections): Interim Evaluation Report (Interim Report). In general, Replication sites implemented the FC program with moderate to high levels of fidelity and with high program quality. The sites adhered closely to the nine philosophical principles of FC in the delivery of services. The Replication sites also adhered closely to the fidelity criteria related to program structure, administrative activities, professional development activities, and research activities. However, some sites experienced challenges related to the timeliness of conducting comprehensive family assessments, initiating face-to-face contact within 1 business day after intake, and providing face-to-face services at least once per week.

A major component of the cross-site evaluation design is a rigorous, two-tiered cost analysis. The first tier examined programmatic costs pertaining to direct and indirect services and administrative activities to establish an estimated average cost of implementing and operating an FC program. Analysis of aggregated program data suggests that, on average, it costs $235,000 per year to implement FC. The second tier estimates case-level costs in order to describe variations across cases within and among study sites and investigate factors that are associated with per-case cost variations. These data are forthcoming.

For the outcome component of the cross-site evaluation, sites collected data from six domains associated with child maltreatment: parental stress, caregiver depressive symptoms, parenting attitudes, social support, family functioning, and child behavior. Baseline measures indicate wide variability in the demographic profiles across the projects but consistently low levels of well-being as families entered the FC programs.

The Final Report will present additional findings regarding the degree to which the Replication sites implemented FC with fidelity; describe adaptations Replication sites made to the original FC program and examine the effect of those adaptations on family outcomes; examine the effect of FC implementation on risk and protective factors associated with child maltreatment as well as actual reports of maltreatment; and examine the programmatic and per-case costs of implementing FC in diverse communities. The Final Report will be available in 2010.

For more information on the cross-site evaluation, including the Interim Report, please contact Jill Filene at James Bell Associates:

For information about the grant cluster, visit the website:

For more information about Family Connections, visit:

Many thanks to Jill Filene, who provided the information for this article.