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The Salvation Army Syracuse Area Services: Expanding Evaluation Capacity for the Family Place Visitation Program

The Salvation Army Syracuse Area Services: Expanding Evaluation Capacity for the Family Place Visitation Program

The Salvation Army received a funding award from the Central New York Community Foundation to develop an internal evaluation plan for the Family Place Visitation Program.  Apter & O’Connor was asked to facilitate a series of meetings with the key stakeholders and program partners to develop the organizational capacity for Family Place to systematically track, measure and report program implementation and its impact on children and families.

Family Place was established 7 years ago as a collaboration of The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Huntington Family Center and the County Department of Social Services to reduce the length of stay for children in foster care. Together they provide a variety of parent support activities in different settings. The needs of the families are quite variable and complex which presented a challenge to determining feasible performance measures.

The fact that the services are provided by four different entities contributed to this challenge.  A&O led the group in developing a logic model of Family Place that communicates the relationships between community needs, program elements and activities, service outputs and family outcomes. From there A&O facilitated the development of benchmarks, indicators of progress and reporting systems that now provide reliable and consistent information to the leadership team for ongoing measurement of fidelity and impact and identification of areas in need of improvement.