• April 2012
  • Vol. 13, No. 3

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The Front Porch Project

American Humane Association's Front Porch Project is a national prevention initiative focused on educating and training communities about what individuals can do to prevent child abuse and neglect and strengthen families. For the past 10 years, Devereux Kids in Pinellas County, FL, has implemented the Front Porch Project. To help other organizations interested in implementing the prevention initiative, American Humane produced an issue bulletin outlining the six elements for success as experienced by Devereux Kids.

Devereux Kids is a prevention program under the umbrella organization Devereux Florida, a social services organization that provides an array of services to more than 13,000 families each year. Services include community outreach, child welfare, and abuse and neglect prevention programs.

In developing the Pinellas County program, staff from Devereux Kids and American Humane defined the three key roles necessary for effective implementation and sustainability: the sustainer, connectors, and supporters. The sustainer is the local organization that facilitates and sustains the project. Connectors are the program participants and the vehicles by which the Front Porch message is spread throughout the community. Supporters are the organizations, associations, corporations, and other entities that monetarily, or through other in-kind resources, support the program.

The six steps for successful implementation include:

  1. Create a strong infrastructure as the sustainer organization.
  2. Build a strong network of champions or connectors. Monthly trainer meetings and open invitations to media outlets were some methods by which Devereux Kids raised visibility and grew its network of connectors.  
  3. Invest in relationships with sustainable funders or supporters. Devereux Kids developed a series of community presentations aimed at several audiences, especially potential funders. 
  4. Strategically plan for growth. To increase training participation by professionals, Devereux Kids began offering continuing education credits.
  5. Develop and implement comprehensive marketing strategies. Partnerships with other child-safety organizations have been instrumental in Devereux Kids' marketing strategy.
  6. Invest in evaluation. A cross-site evaluation of the Devereux Kids project and other Front Porch Project sites garnered both qualitative and quantitative data.

Lessons Learned From a Decade of Implementation, by Ann Doyle, Lauren Morely, and Leslie Wilmot, is available on the American Humane Association website:

http://www.americanhumane.org/assets/pdfs/children/prvention/aha-fpp-issuebrief.pdf (1 MB)

Update

The Front Porch Project no longer exists at the American Humane Association. It has been absorbed by the Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver under its new name, Communities NOW. For more information on Communities NOW, visit www.thebutlerinstitute.org/communitiesnow or contact Lara Bruce, lara.bruce@du.edu or 303.871.4509.

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