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Rising to the Challenge: The Strategies of Social Service Intermediaries

February 22, 2012

During the past decade, "intermediary organizations" have proliferated across the nonprofit sector. These organizations are typically positioned between funding entities (e.g., government agencies, foundations and corporations) and direct service providers. Intermediaries play an important roll in connecting organizations that share a common interest--and working to enhance the services these organizations provide, build larger service networks, promote quality standards, and monitor programs on behalf of funders.

Using Data in Multi-Agency Collaborations: Guiding Performance to Ensure Accountability and Improve Programs

February 22, 2012

A growing number of foundation- and government-funded initiatives are bringing together diverse partners within communities -- to create screening and referral systems, to coordinate and deliver services and to advocate for policy changes -- all in the interest of serving clients more effectively. Many of these efforts emphasize the use of evidence-based programs, and there is increasing recognition that to be successful, collaborating agencies must work together to collect relevant data and use it to inform and improve their programming.

Early Outcomes for Programs and Families in Children's Futures

January 8, 2010

Assesses the programmatic achievements and outcomes for families in the first five years of a community change initiative providing an array of social services. Discusses lessons learned and issues of cost, partnership development, and sustainability.

Collaboration and Community Change in the Children's Futures Initiative

February 28, 2009

In 2002, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched Children's Futures (CF), a 10-year community change initiative designed to improve the health and well-being of children from birth to age three throughout Trenton, NJ. CF's strategies included efforts to increase residents' access to prenatal and other health services, provide parenting skills education, improve the quality of available childcare and promote preventive healthcare among medical practices. The Foundation engaged P/PV to evaluate the implementation and outcomes of the initiative and to provide ongoing feedback on its progress.This report, and its forthcoming companion, Early Outcomes in a Community Change Effort to Improve Children's Futures, examine the promise of CF strategies. Collaboration and Community Change in the Children's Futures Initiative focuses on program implementation, participant recruitment and collaborations among Trenton's agencies. The second report examines programmatic improvements and early outcomes for CF families. Major findings from both are compiled in Children's Futures' First Five Years.

Children's Futures' First Five Years: Lessons and Early Outcomes of a Community Change Initiative

August 8, 2008

In 2002, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched an early childhood initiative in Trenton, NJ, called Children's Futures (CF) to determine if focused efforts to bring about community change could make measurable differences in children's health and well-being and help ensure their readiness to enter school. The Foundation engaged P/PV to evaluate the implementation and outcomes of this ambitious initiative and to provide ongoing feedback on its progress. Children's Futures' First Five Years provides a summary of our findings, based on two longer forthcoming reports: Collaboration and Community Change, which investigates the initiative's major strategies and highlights collaborative practices, and Early Outcomes for Programs and Families in Children's Futures, which examines programmatic improvements and early outcomes for CF families.

Getting It Right: Strategies for After-School Success

September 1, 2005

This report synthesizes the last 10 years of findings from P/PV's and other researchers' work to address one of the most demanding challenges facing today's after-school programs -- how to create and manage programs that stand the best chance of producing specific, policy-relevant outcomes. It examines recruitment strategies that attract young people to activities, the qualities that make activities engaging and motivate participants to attend regularly, and the infrastructure -- staffing, management and monitoring -- needed to support such activities. The report's final chapter explores the fiscal realities of after-school programming, considering how administrators might stretch existing dollars to enhance services.

Linking the Child Care and Health Care Systems: A Consideration of Options

August 25, 2004

Funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this report examines strategies for linking the health and child care systems in an effort to improve poor children's health. Studies show that poor, African American and Latino children have less access to health care and worse health outcomes than middle-class or non-Hispanic white children. With this reality in mind, the authors present five key strategies, identifying for each: the resources necessary for implementation, the strategy's potential to improve children's health, and the primary strengths and disadvantages -- including each strategy's promise for reaching the most vulnerable children. Drawing on interviews with experts in policy, health and child care, the report provides funders and policymakers with a framework for thinking about future interventions.

After-School Pursuits: The Executive Summary

March 30, 2004

This document summarizes the major findings from P/PV's Examination of Outcomes in the San Francisco Beacon Initiative.

After-School Pursuits: An Examination of Outcomes in the San Francisco Beacon Initiative

March 1, 2004

The San Francisco Beacon Initiative (SFBI) has been in effect in the San Francisco Unified School District since 1996. A collaboration of public and private funders, SFBI operates comprehensive after-school programs in six middle schools, one elementary school and one high school. P/PVs evaluation found that SFBI programs consisted of high quality after-school activities, provided young people with important developmental experiences (such as adult support) and prevented declines in school effort (typical among middle school youth). Although the initiative did not explicitly set out to improve young peoples academic outcomes, these were also examined. Despite the high quality of the centers developmental programs, participants showed no academic gains, and the authors conclude that positive developmental experiences are not sufficient for ensuring academic success among youth who are already struggling in school.

Multiple Choices After School: Findings from the Extended-Service Schools Initiative

June 1, 2002

In the summer of 2002, every state became eligible to receive federal funds for after-school programs. With this opportunity came the need to make decisions about the goals, design and content of after-school programming -- decisions that will influence which youth participate, what they experience and how they may benefit. This report aims to put policymakers and program operators on firmer ground as they grapple with these decisions; it shares lessons from existing school-based after-school programs.

Adult Communication and Teen Sex: Changing a Community

December 30, 2001

Plain Talk was like no other pregnancy prevention program tried before. It investigated whether one could create an environment in America where adults in a teen's daily life would provide them with the information and encouragement to protect themselves sexually. The program also explored whether teens with easy access to contraceptives would act more responsibly protecting themselves, be less likely to get pregnant, and have fewer STDs than if communication and access were limited. The answer given in this report is, "yes," but creating this environment is much slower and more arduous than expected.

Working Together to Build Beacon Centers in San Francisco: Evaluation Findings from 1998-2000

October 30, 2001

Since 1996, private and public funders in San Francisco have supported a city-wide Beacons Initiative. Eight Beacon Centers, located in public schools, serve 7500 youth and adults each year, providing a rich array of developmental activities in the non-school hours. This report looks at how the centers were created; it describes the centers' operation; and investigates the role of the initiative's "theory of change" in organizing and guiding the effort.