In partnership between a Humphrey School of Public Affairs graduate student capstone group and the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), this research examines family engagement with social service programs. The goal of the research involves several related objectives: (1) synthesizing understandings of engagement across multiple sectors; (2) creating a definition of family engagement with a program that can be applied in a diverse set of scenarios; (3) developing indicators that may be transferable to a variety of social service sectors; (4) identifying promising strategies for engaging families; and (5) developing a preliminary tool that may be used to assess a family’s engagement with a program.
The study found that engaged families were defined by behaviors like high communication, progress on goals, program attendance, and taking initiative. They were equally defined by certain attitudes such as having trusting relationships with social service providers and community members, having a sense of empowerment, and motivation to change. The strategies found to be most promising for engaging families who did not embody the aforementioned qualities fell into two categories: demonstrating the benefits of program access and relationship building. It was found that neither category superseded the other; instead, both were necessary to encourage greater engagement. Finally, two surveys were developed for piloting among NAZ staff and NAZ families, and steps for further research were identified.
Professional paper for the fulfillment of the Master of Public Policy
Amarteifio, Gifty; Gleich, Mary; Noble, Kate; Reed, Katie; Stalland, Sara.
Evaluating family engagement strategies in social service programs A case study of Minneapolis Northside Achievement Zone.
Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
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