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Massachusetts Department of Public Health F.O.R Families program: A qualitative evalutation

Zobeida Bonilla-Vega, MPH, Ph D1, Melissa Marlowe, RN, MS1, and Karin Downs, RN, MPH2. (1) Massachusetts Department of Public Health, F.O.R. Families Program, 250 Washington Street 4th floor, Boston, MA 02108, 617-624-5913, melissa.marlowe@state.ma.us, (2) Division of Perinatal, Early Childhood, and Special Health Needs, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 250 Washington Street, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02108

This report summarizes the key findings of the qualitative evaluation of the F.O.R. Families program. F.O.R. (Follow-up, Outreach, and Referral) Families is a home visiting program funded by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and implemented by the Department of Public Health (DPH). The program aims to assist homeless families in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by identifying and addressing barriers that prevent them from attaining and maintaining self-sufficiency and family well-being. The program goal is to improve families' access to appropriate resources that can assure the safety and well-being of all family members.

Families enter the program through direct referrals from DTA or through referrals from Housing Assistance Provider agencies subcontracted by DTA. Home visitors conduct family assessments and coordinate services for the families with community-based programs such as WIC, EI, primary health care, community health centers, domestic violence services, substance abuse, and mental health treatment centers.

A qualitative research model was chosen for this evaluation to learn from the experiences of program beneficiaries and providers about promising practices for working with homeless families. One goal of this qualitative evaluation was to generate a description of the experiences of the families on their journey towards stabilization and self-sufficiency. The research also sought to document the program's attributes, the approaches and strategies for providing services to homeless families in the state, and the collaboration with state and local government agencies, non-profit groups, and community-based organizations. To the extent possible, this evaluation aimed to inform the development of program outcome measures.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Homelessness,

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Handout (.ppt format, 191.5 kb)

Service Use, Service Gaps, and Service Needs in Homeless Populations

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA