Update on the National Evaluation of the Safe Start Initiative: Successes and Challenges From the Field

Lisa A. Lunghofer, Caliber Associates

The goal of the Safe Start initiative is to create a comprehensive service delivery system that prevents and reduces the impact of family and community violence on young children from birth to six years of age. The initiative seeks to improve service delivery by expanding partnerships among service providers, including early childhood development, health, mental health, family support, domestic violence, substance abuse prevention, crisis intervention, child welfare, law enforcement, and the court/legal system. As the national evaluator, Caliber Associates is tracking progress and impacts in each site through a cross-site process evaluation and a cross-site impact evaluation. Successful evaluation of Safe Start requires collaboration with OJJDP, stakeholders in each of the Safe Start sites, and the technical assistance providers. We will discuss some of the challenges encountered in working with multiple stakeholders to develop the evaluation framework and the ways in which we overcame these challenges. Findings from the process evaluation of the Safe Start planning phase will also be presented. Finally, we will discuss our use of concept mapping techniques to develop a measurement framework that examines the commonalties and differences in key outcomes among and within the sites.

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Updated 05/20/2006