Integrating program and evaluation values: A family support approach to evaluation.

Evaluation Practice, 17(3), pp 261–272.



Green, B. L., Mulvey, L., Fisher, H., & Rudacille, F.

In the past several years, models of social service provision that are based on principles of “family support” have been implemented nationwide. Development of evaluation methods to adequately reflect the multifaceted nature of these programs, however, has lagged behind program development. It is particularly difficult (especially within the context of traditional evaluation paradigms) to develop evaluations that do not in and of themselves violate the principles of family support, which advocate for services that are strengths-based, collaborative, family-centered, comprehensive, and flexible. To this end, we have been collaborating with local agency directors, family support staff, and parents to develop an evaluation approach that is based on the general principles of family support. The work that we describe draws techniques from participatory, empowerment, and utilization-focused evaluation approaches, but operationalizes evaluation activities based on the guiding program value system. By tailoring the evaluation to the service philosophy, we contend that the evaluation process can become more thoroughly integrated with the service program, and thus provide a more useful and accurate picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the program.

Associated Staff

Beth L. Green