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Protective Factors in Community Partnerships: Findings from United Way Strengthening Families Focus


G. Kim Sumpter, United Way of Metro Atlanta ... Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development. Parenting is part natural, part learned ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Protective Factors in Community Partnerships: Findings from United Way Strengthening Families Focus

Protective Factors in Community Partnerships
Findings from United Way Strengthening Families
Focus Groups
David C. Diehl, University of Florida Larry F. Forthun, University of
Florida Jayne Moraski,
University of Florida G. Kim
Sumpter, United Way of Metro Atlanta
Protective Factors Plain Language
Adapted from
United Way Strengthening Families Project Overview
  • Project led by United Way of America (Nina Sazer
    ODonnell and Samantha Wigand)
  • Project Funded by the Doris Duke Charitable
  • Built on the foundational work of the Center for
    the Study of Social Policy (Strengthening
    Families Project)
  • National evaluation led by the University of
    Florida (David Diehl, Larry Forthun, Jayne
  • 6 Pilot Sites (Anchorage, Atlanta, Brownsville,
    High Point, NC, San Antonio, Washington State)

The Original Strengthening Families Model
Protective Factors
Quality Early Care Education
Parental Resilience
Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention
Program Strategies That
Social Connections
  • Facilitate friendships and mutual support
  • Strengthen parenting
  • Respond to family crises
  • Link families to services and opportunities
  • Value and support parents
  • Facilitate childrens social and emotional
  • Observe and respond to early warning signs of
    child abuse or neglect

Knowledge of Parenting Child Development
Concrete Supports in Times of Need
Strong Families
Social and Emotional Competence of Children
Nurturing and Attachment
Purpose of the Project
  • The purpose of the project is to use United Ways
    nationwide network to expand the use of
    effective, research-based strategies for
    preventing child abuse and neglect and promoting
    positive child development into all aspects of
    what Local United Ways do.
  • (Infusion of protective factors into the work of

Responsibilities of National Evaluators
  • Conduct a process evaluation of UWSF utilizing a
    participatory approach and focusing on process
    documentation, lessons learned, and resources for
    dissemination and replication.
  • Provide resources, support, and ongoing guidance
    for local evaluation teams to successfully
    evaluate their local efforts.
  • Analyze and synthesize the data being generated
    at the local level.
  • Create resources that capture the lessons learned
    from this process and encourage replication of
    the project in other communities.

Key Elements of the Evaluation
Breakthroughs/Success Stories We are asking
sites to capture their key breakthroughs that
might ultimately become success stories.
Ultimately, these stories will include the
situation thought process strategies keys to
success, and benefits for the project.
  • Site Learning
  • Creation of UWSF Toolkit
  • Keys to Success
  • Advice for Sites
  • Success Stories
  • Tools and Resources

Project Lead Interviews Every six months, the
National Evaluation Team will conduct a phone
interview with each Project Director to explore
project progress, including key activities
barriers and challenges keys to success and
next steps.
Community Focus Groups Focus Groups were
convened at each site to obtain community buy-in
and facilitate planning. Issues included
Community Partnerships Barriers and Solutions
and Success and Sustainability
Progress Reports Every six months, the site
evaluators will submit a progress report that
provides an update on the project logic model
counts of key activities project progress
evaluation progress next steps and tools and
resources developed.
Focus Group Objectives
  • The objectives of the Stakeholder Focus
    Groups were to
  • Facilitate stakeholder buy-in to the United Way
    Strengthening Families project
  • Facilitate joint program planning for the UWSF
    pilot sites and
  • Collect common data from all pilot sites to
    inform the national evaluation process.

Participatory Nature
  • Decision to convene focus groups was jointly made
    between national evaluators and pilot sites
  • Focus group topics and questions were jointly
    developed with pilot sites
  • Sites selected the questions that were most
    useful to them

Three Topic Areas
  • Community Needs and United Way Partnerships
  • Community Barriers and Solutions
  • Success of the United Way Strengthening Families

  • 7 focus groups
  • Average group size 9 people
  • Participants
  • United Way staff
  • Directors of community agencies
  • Front-line service providers
  • Parents
  • About 90 minutes each
  • Facilitated by site evaluators
  • Recorded and transcribed
  • Facilitator / Project Lead Reflection

  • Project Coordinator conducted initial coding,
    identifying initial themes (using NVivo).
  • Co-Investigators then further refined the coding
    framework by identifying larger themes and
    repeated ideas, including key examples
  • Project Coordinator and Co-Investigators achieved
    consensus on the larger themes and repeated
    ideas, including key examples

Topic 1 Community Needs and United Way
  •  Q1.1 Community Needs Lets start by talking
    about peoples needs in our community. Ask each
    participant, which factor did you rank as the
    highest need? and why?
  • Q1.2 Existing Organizations What organizations
    (e.g., agencies, programs, collaborative groups,
    etc.) are already addressing protective factors
    in our community? Which of these organizations
    should be engaged in United Way Strengthening
    Families? What other organizations should be
    engaged? How do we get these organizations
  • Q1.3 Role of Community Partners What is the
    best role of community partners in United Way
    Strengthening Families? Who are the most critical
    partners and what are their roles?
  • Q1.4 Parent Leadership How should parent
    leaders be involved in the work of United Way
    Strengthening Families? What programs in our
    community have strong parent leaders? How have
    families been involved in other projects or

Which of the protective factors do you consider
to be the most important need in your community?
  • Parental Resilience
  • Social Connections
  • Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
  • Concrete Support in Times of Need
  • Social and Emotional Competence of Children
  • Nurturing and Attachment

Topic 1 Community Needs and United Way
  • Ranking highest need (gap in services)
  • Rankings differed by location encouraged much
  • Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
  • Social and Emotional Competence of Children
  • I chose Social and Emotional Competence in
    Childrenbecause I didnt have the emotional
    thing running in my family, the socialI didnt
    have any of it. I had my first child at 15, so I
    didnt want to be like them. Ive always looked
    around that, regardless of that, I always let
    them know that Im here and its ok, its not
    your fault, because I didnt have that growing

Topic 1 Community Needs and United Way
  • Existing organizations that address protective
    factors Critical partners
  • Discussions were specific to location but
    provided important insight into the organization
    of local human services
  • Suggestions covered spectrum of services child
    protective services (CPS), early care and
    education, family services, health/mental health,
    education, etc.
  • Organizations that could do more? CPS, health
    care, schools/education, and the workplace

Topic 1 Community Needs and United Way
  • Parent Partnerships
  • Suggestions to increase parental participation
  • Convenience
  • Transportation, child care, dinner
  • Go to the parents (workplace, church, community
    center, school)
  • Engagement
  • Empower/acknowledge parental authority, avoid
  • Partner in childs development (i.e., share test
    scores or early learning activities)
  • Recognition (awards, etc.)
  • Training
  • Leadership

Topic 2 Community Barriers and Solutions
  • Q2.1 Barriers What are the barriers or
    roadblocks to infusing protective factors into
    work with children and families in our community?
    (Alternative Phrasing What aspects of the
    community will work against accomplishing the
    goals of this project?) At the end of these
    questions, it may be advantageous to prioritize
    the most serious barriers)
  • Q2.2 Solutions then ask, What are some
    solutions to these barriers? What are the best
    strategies for getting organizations to embrace
    and use protective factors? How can the impact of
    community partners be maximized? (Alternative
    Phrasing What aspects of the community will work
    in your favor to accomplish the goals of this

Which of the following do you think is the
biggest barrier to infusing protective factors in
community agencies?
  • This is nothing new!
  • Organizational inflexibility
  • People not understanding the language
  • Getting buy-in at all levels
  • Lack of funding

Topic 2 Community Barriers and Solutions (to
the infusion of protective factors)
  • Discussion focused on broad barriers to effective
    social service delivery
  • Common barriers
  • Challenges of intersecting with the child welfare
  • Severe challenges facing families
  • Need for staff and parent knowledge of PF
  • Is PF just the next flavor of the day?
  • Funding

Topic 2 Community Barriers and Solutions
  • Language and Culture
  • How to communicate PF to broad audiences
  • Need for plain language
  • Need to make the concepts concrete and real in
    the lives of people
  • it has got to be in very simple language.
    Talking about protective factors or saying parent
    resilience, or you know, social skills- doesnt
    cut it for the majority of the public.
  • Broad issues of culture and language
  • Language is considered a barrier (lack of
    interpreters, multiple languages)
  • Cultural issues around acceptable discipline,
    spanking, etc.
  • Desire to integrate the PF into various cultures
    to build support

Topic 2 Community Barriers and Solutions
  • Changing the Culture of UW and Partner Agencies
  • Focus groups used to engage UW staff in the
  • Change must first take place in UW
  • Staff need to embrace these principles
  • Customer service orientation
  • The customer would be the parents and children,
    but making sure that everything is aimed at that
    and not how nice it is going to be for the person
    providing the service.
  • Need to create understanding and buy-in
  • Even within organizations, there is a lack of
    shared understanding of concepts like customer
  • Re-Framing the issue of child abuse and neglect
  • One of the hurdles is to convince everyone not
    to look at these parents as the bad people.

Most people in my community believe that local
social services are people friendly.
  • Strongly Disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neutral
  • Agree
  • Strongly Agree

Topic 2 Community Barriers and Solutions
  • 1-Stop Shop
  • Transportation and access
  • Focus on better service delivery
  • Its beyond co-locating services, its thinking
    comprehensively. You can be in the same building,
    but I should be looking for those other needs. I
    know I can send them right around the corner to
    work with you. You collaborate to do a
    comprehensive look at the family.
  • Climate of Service Delivery
  • Stigma of social services
  • Customer service
  • Building client trust and comfort
  • 211 (call-in information and referral)
  • We hope that people are calling them, and when
    they do we want to give them the tools to push a
    little bit and to be deliberate in connecting
    families to those protective factor issues.

Topic 3 Success of the UWSF Project
  • Q3.1 Project Success (Process) What does the
    United Way Strengthening Families initiative need
    to do to be successful? (to be successful in
    our community, the United Way Strengthening
    Families initiative should )
  • Q3.2 Project Success (Outcomes) What would the
    success with the United Way Strengthening
    Families initiative in our community look like?
    (we will know the project is successful when )
  • Q3.3 Knowledge of Protective Factors Now,
    lets look at the overview of protective factors
    and discuss how much people in our community
    already understand the importance of these
    factors for positive child development and family
    functioning. In our community, what is the
    current level of knowledge about these protective
    factors and how they relate to positive child
    development? (you may want to discuss parents,
    providers, and policy makers separately) How can
    we improve knowledge of protective factors in our
    community through marketing and other efforts?
  • Q3.4 Sustainability What can be done to make
    this initiative sustainable over time?

Business leaders in my community are committed to
strengthening families.
  • Strongly Disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neutral
  • Agree
  • Strongly Agree

Topic 3 Project Success
  • Importance of Engaging Business Partners
  • And if we can get their voices involved in not
    only the community level, but begin to feel like
    there is a statewide business voice, that is a
    very powerful voice. I think it goes a long way
    toward moving the agenda.
  • Engagement Strategies
  • Specific ideas program site tours for
    businesses Lunch and Learn programs
    presentations to CEOs focusing on Return on
  • Outcomes, both short-term and long-term are
  • Build the relationship first, provide
    information, then ask for more commitment later
  • Personal experience (Example CEOs who were
    grandparents connected to early childhood issues
    very well)
  • When they picture a little child in an at-risk
    family thats not getting any of the benefits
    that their little grandchild is getting and they
    can really picture that literally, and how said
    that really is, it prompts them to want to do
    something about it so that more kids can have the
    wonderful kind of life that their little
    grandchildren are going to grow up with.

Most people in my community are knowledgeable of
factors that promote strong families.
  • Strongly Disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neutral
  • Agree
  • Strongly Agree

Topic 3 Project Success
  • Knowledge
  • Very few discussions addressed the intended
    question of how much people knew about the
    relationship between protective factors and
    positive child outcomes.
  • Most discussions focused on the extent to which
    the protective factors were evident in their
  • High Levels of Knowledge
  • Parental Resilience
  • Concrete Support in Times of Need
  • Low Levels of Knowledge
  • Concrete Support in Times of Need
  • Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development

Topic 3 Project Success
  • Process (requirements for success)
  • Broad and diverse engagement
  • Businesses and donors engaged to provide voices
    and resources
  • I really believe there are people out there that
    want to really do this kind of investment and not
    just keep funding the same programs.
  • taking all of those local pieces that are so
    powerful on a local level and being able to say
    throughout the state there are 100 or 200
    business voices that join in behind these,
    whatever statements you have around early
    learning and early childhood education.
  • The right people
  • Organizations
  • Attitudes
  • Common culture
  • I think that we do have a lot of agencies that
    are working to a certain extent in isolation has
    there ever been an attempt made to develop a
    common culture for the division of these services
    so that all the people that are involved with it
    buy into that culture as part of this service

Topic 3 Project Success
  • Process (Cont.)
  • Improved access to services and tone of services
    for families (I think to be successful, your
    community residents would not only be able to
    have access to your services, but feel
    comfortable in accessing those services so to
    me, success would be being able to make those
    people who need those services feel absolutely
    comfortable using those services.
  • Learning circles and strong communication
  • Parent-defined success (one thing that would
    make me feel that it was successful is if parents
    and families viewed and said yes, this is what I

Topic 3 Project Success
  • Outcomes
  • Return on Investment (ROI) at least equal to
    other communities
  • Cost-benefit analysis (for every 1 spent, 2
  • somebody somewhere is going to pay for it they
    are going to want to see that even if you cant
    solve the entire problem, that their money is
    going to be used effectively and efficiently to
    at least chip away at it.
  • Reduced rates of child abuse and neglect
  • Stronger parenting skills (knowledge, patience,
  • Relationship to other outcomes (dropout
    prevention, teen pregnancy, etc.)
  • Stronger work force

Reflections on the Process
  • Before focus group
  • Identify reasons for convening a focus group
  • What are we going to get from it? Who would we
    invite? And do we really want to do that? And
    what are we doing it for? (focus group
  • Identify the right people to attend
  • Identify the time/place
  • Around lunch time, provide food
  • Ensure questions are at literacy level of

Reflections on the Process
  • Beginning focus group
  • Set the context and expectations for the focus
  • Introduction (with role in strengthening
  • Focusing exercises
  • During focus group
  • Level of depth (balance)
  • Get more depth asking how or in what ways
  • Visual aides
  • Confusion when visuals were placed throughout
  • Keeping everyone on track
  • Ensure that protective factors are not discussed
    as risk factors (reframing)

  • Focus groups were useful for obtaining community
    buy-in and shaping the strategic plan
  • It was a great tool for the national evaluators
    to understand the pilot site communities and
    United Ways role in each community
  • However, because of the diversity of the
    communities represented, it was very difficult to
    analyze the findings for commonalities
  • The focus group process shed great light on the
    types of tools needed for the toolkit that the
    national evaluation team is creating specific
    and concrete examples are critical.
  • Those states that already have Strengthening
    Families in their states had a head start on
    other sites.
  • Qualitative analysis is NOT for the faint of