Evaluating the impact of family resource programs can be challenging, since services are diverse across the country, and families decide for themselves how frequently and for how long they wish to be involved. When parents and caregivers are asked to assess their experiences at family resource programs, the results are clear: family resource centres make a positive difference both in their children's lives and in their own. Respondents observe improvements in their children's development and socialization, as well as greater confidence in their own abilities, particularly their parenting skills.
To date, over 34,000 program participants have provided feedback using FRP Canada's on-line e-Valuation system. These data have been summarized in a series of reports: 2006-2007; 2007-2008; 2008-2009; 2009- 2011
Dr. Rachel Berman has summarized the evidence for effectiveness of family support, with a focus on benefits for children. You can access her paper from FRP Canada's journal, Perspectives, here.
The Ryerson University Voices Project was a large-scale qualitative research study designed to uncover what participants most value about family resource programs. Interviews and focus groups, conducted across Canada, resulted in four main themes, groups of factors that contribute to the success of family resource programs. These themes are the importance of engaging families, empowering participants, building social support and social capital, and building community.
What participants value: Practices and outcomes at family resource programs. Silver, S., Berman, R. & Wilson, S. (2005).
Ten brief literature reviews prepared for FRP Canada summarize the evidence for key elements of family support practice.
Theme 1: Engaging Families with a Welcoming Atmosphere and Respectful Staff Theme 2: Enhancing Family Participation Theme 3: Diversity Theme 4: Transfer of Strategies for Increasing Family Well-being Theme 5: Parental Confidence Theme 6: Strengthening Family Social Networks Theme 7: Links to Other Services and Resources Theme 8: Worker Satisfaction Theme 9: Appropriate Policies Theme 10: Collaboration and Partnerships