What strategies are appropriate for monitoring children outside of family care and evaluating the impact of the programs intended to serve them?

Ager, Alastair and Zimmerman, Cathy and Unlu, Kathy and Rinehart, Richard and Nyberg, Beverly and Zeanah, Charles and Hunleth, Jean and Bastiaens, Ida and Weldy, Andre and Bachman, Gretchen and Blum, Alexander B. and Strottman, Kathleen (2012) What strategies are appropriate for monitoring children outside of family care and evaluating the impact of the programs intended to serve them? Child Abuse & Neglect, 36 (10). pp. 732-742. ISSN 01452134

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2012.09.006

Abstract

Objectives To strengthen the evidence-base for policy and practice for support of children outside of family care requires effective, efficient and sustainable mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation. Toward that end, two core questions guided a systematic review of evidence: What strategies are appropriate for monitoring the needs and circumstances of children outside of family care? What strategies are suitable for evaluating the impact of the programs intended to serve such children? Methods A structured document search and review process was implemented within the context of the U.S. Government Evidence Summit on Protecting Children Outside of Family Care of December 2011. Through successive review phases, initially using structured screening criteria, followed by thematic review by an expert panel, 73 documents were identified for analysis. Results Analysis of models and strategies indicates that: (1) tools are available for assessment of children's needs, but require refining to accommodate contextual demands; (2) well-designed evaluations are able to identify the influence of assistance; (3) long-term follow-up is crucial to developing a strong evidence-base on effective strategies; and (4) insights into systems-wide monitoring mechanisms are emerging. In addition to describing key components of monitoring and evaluation strategies, findings draw attention to the evaluation of children's resiliency and protective factors, community based monitoring and the role of caregivers, as well as concerns over the stigmatization of children (through data collection methodologies encouraging the ‘labeling’ of children) and the importance of children's participation. Conclusions Fostering a stronger evidence-base to improve protection for vulnerable children requires evaluations that are integrated into program development, use context-appropriate methodologies able to assess intervention scalability and employ more longitudinal designs to explore children's trajectories. Further, future programming will benefit from systems-wide data coordination and international comparisons, research that emphasizes coping and resilience mechanisms, and children's participation in monitoring and evaluation.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > The Institute for Global Health and Development
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2015 10:09
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2017 15:44
URI: http://eresearch.qmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4226

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