DHS Contract Mgr Denise Simon
Annual Grant $ $500,000
Evaluator Name & Contact Info Julie Spielberger, Ph.D.
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Annual Eval $ $267,000
Funding Source Administration of Children and Families
Eval Period SFY2008-SFY2012

Program Summary

The Illinois Department of Human Services, in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education and the Department of Children and Family Services, is implementing Strong Foundations, an integrated state-wide infrastructure to support three evidence-based models of home visitation: Parents as Teachers (PAT), Healthy Families America (HFA), and the Nurse-Family Partnership (NPF).

The integrated structure will coordinate resource allocation, community capacity building, training, data collection, monitoring and technical assistance across the three state agency partners and an existing network of close to 200 home visiting programs. Strong Foundations will also develop training to assist home visitors in serving families affected by mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence and developmental disability. Additionally, the project will bring families into the process of planning, implementing, operating, and evaluating the infrastructure.

Research questions for the evaluation include the following:

  • To what extent do Strong Foundations partners implement a state infrastructure consistent with its planned approach?
  • What changes are made in the approach to implementation? What contextual factors affect implementation of the state infrastructure?
  • What changes in infrastructure occur at the state and local levels as a result of these efforts?
  • Are the home visiting programs being implemented and delivered with fidelity? What factors affect implementation?
  • How much does the start up and delivery of each program cost, including the cost of providing infrastructure supports, using standard measures of time and cost?
  • What are the effects of the enhanced infrastructure on home visiting programs?
  • What are the effects of home visiting programs on participating families?

To address these questions, the evaluation will include (1) a process evaluation to assess the implementation of the state infrastructure and improvements in the operation and impact of local programs and (2) an outcome study of a sample of families participating in these programs.