The Office of Child Development continues to strive to improve the lives of children and families on many frontiers.
DARE - United Way Partnership Focuses on a Community Investment Strategy for Financially Struggling Adults and Families
The Division of Applied Research and Evaluation and Co-Director Chris Groark are partnering with the United Way to identify the gaps in services and resources that are available in Allegheny County to assist individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet. Part of our charge is to identify newly struggling and emerging populations at risk, such as women who are only one unexpected life event away from losing a job or housing. Over the next few months, DARE will interview and survey local service providers, donors, and partners of the United Way to identify unmet and emerging needs,demonstrate changing trends, and gather feedback on the United Way’s current strategies of addressing these issues locally. This is a collaborative initiative with United Way staff and an Advisory Board of donors and stakeholders, who will work with DARE to develop recommendations for the United Way to make the most effective and efficient investment strategies to intervene and assist individuals and families who are struggling financially.
DARE team gets poster Accepted at AEA Conference
Three of our Division of Applied Research and Evaluation team members had their poster accepted for this fall’s American Evaluation Association Conference. Kalani Palmer, Jennifer Salaway and Amie Matson will be presenting their poster on October 16 on the Benefits of Using a Multidisciplinary Approach in Evaluation Research. They will present on how the diverse perspectives and experiences of a multidisciplinary team influence the life of an evaluation project.
New Evaluation Partnership with Propel Schools "Fund my Future" Initiative
The Office is excited to have started a new collaboration with Propel Schools in July. The Division of Applied Research and Evaluation is working closely with Propel Schools to evaluate their "Fund My Future" initiative. This initiative provides opportunities for families to save money for their child’s post high school education through college savings accounts operated by Propel Schools. Families will receive encouragement and incentives to save for college and they can do their banking right at the school. Fund My Future aims to help students see college attendance as a possibility for their future and remove barriers to saving for college. The evaluation team will look at changes in parent thoughts and behavior around college savings and college planning, as well as students’ demonstration of effort and persistence in school.
Mentoring for Homeless and "At-risk" Youth
In January, the Division of Applied Research and Evaluation began an evaluation of Familylinks’ youth mentoring program which services 18-21 year olds living in Familylinks facilities. The program goals are to build positive relationships, and to support education, employment, and stable housing goals. The Division of Applied Research and Evaluation team is excited to be involved in this initiative as it may inform the field on working models for adult mentoring in non-traditional settings. The Office of Child Development continues to learn and look for what works best in various programs so that best practices can be adopted as the norm.