Program Evaluations and Needs Assessments

TIER researchers regularly serve as evaluation partners for non-profit and government organizations. TIER’s evaluations are designed in collaboration with program and policy leads, reflecting TIER’s commitment to conducting accessible and useful evaluations that simultaneously satisfy funders, help programs improve practices and build their own evaluation capacity, and advance the research field.

Massachusetts Healthy Families Evaluation—Phase 2 (MHFE-2)

The statewide Healthy Families Massachusetts (HFM) newborn home visiting program promotes positive and effective parenting among young parents and their firstborn children. For the past decade, TIER has conducted several independent evaluations of HFM funded by the Children’s Trust of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The Massachusetts Healthy Families Evaluation-Phase 2 (MHFE-2) is a longitudinal randomized controlled trial (RCT) that began in 2008 with over 700 mothers and their children. The evaluation was designed to determine the extent to which HFM achieved its five stated goals, understand mothers’ experiences with parenting, and explore program implementation across HFM sites. Beginning when mothers were pregnant or newly parenting, MHFE-2 participants completed telephone and in-person interviews, and granted access to state administrative data. Data were first collected about one month following HFM enrollment (Time 1, T1), with follow-ups completed one (T2), two (T3), five (T4), six (T5), and seven (T6) years later.

To date, MHFE-2 has demonstrated favorable HFM program effects on mothers’ mental health, substance use, housing stability, and economic well-being, and children’s physical health. MHFE-2 reports are available on the Publications page.

Contact Rebecca Fauth for more information.

Massachusetts Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MA-MIECHV)

The Massachusetts Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MA MIECHV), a federal-funded program administered by Massachusetts Department of Public Health, is an expansion and enhancement of home visiting services in 17 high-need Massachusetts communities. Since MA-MIECHV’s inception in 2011, TIER has worked with MDPH and other university partners to evaluate the statewide initiative at the community, program, and individual levels, with a focus on understanding the ways in which MA MIECHV sites are embedded within, and contributing to, comprehensive early childhood systems of care at the local levels.

In 2018, TIER began a new evaluation of MA MIECHV aimed at understanding the early impacts of MA home visiting programs on maternal and infant health and development outcomes and linkages to Early Intervention services.

Contact Rebecca Fauth or Jessica Goldberg for more information.

Evaluation of Early Intervention Parenting Partnerships (EIPP) Program

TIER is conducting a mixed methods evaluation of the Early Intervention Parenting Partnerships (EIPP) program funded by Massachusetts Department of Public Health. EIPP provides home visiting and group services to pregnant and postpartum women and infants with identified risk factors that heighten their vulnerability to poor health and development. The purpose of EIPP is to provide early identification of maternal and infant risk, and linkage to services that prevent or mitigate poor health and developmental outcomes. Each EIPP is staffed by a Maternal Child Health (MCH) Team that includes a maternal and child health nurse, a mental health clinical professional, and a community health worker. The three-year evaluation includes a quasi-experimental evaluation of EIPP on maternal and infant health and development outcomes and linkages to Early Intervention services, a qualitative study of EIPP services, and a social return on investment analysis.

Contact Rebecca Fauth for more information.

Evaluation of the Massachusetts Essentials for Childhood Project (MA EfC)

In collaboration with colleagues at Child Trends, TIER is conducting a participatory, mixed-methods evaluation of MA EfC, an initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and administered by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. MA EfC brings together stakeholders from multiple sectors to address the problem of child abuse and neglect (CAN) by promoting safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. The five-year evaluation comprises a process evaluation component assessing EfC progress toward meeting its implementation goals, and an outcomes evaluation component using use state- and community- level data to assess the extent to which MA EfC CAN prevention efforts appear to have affected changes in practices at the municipal and agency levels, as well as population-level changes in key areas. Framed by an understanding that families and communities exist within systems in which advantages are conferred based on race, our evaluation includes questions that ask how members of the communities most affected by CAN have been included in EfC decision-making, what the barriers are to more equitable outcomes and how EfC is addressing these barriers, and how EfC strategies are decreasing (or inadvertently worsening) racial inequities.

Contact Jessica Goldberg for more information.

SAFE Child Communities

The Children’s Trust of Massachusetts is developing a comprehensive model of the primary prevention of child maltreatment in Massachusetts: Stop Abuse for Every (SAFE) Child Communities. Using a place-based, multiservice approach, SAFE Child Communities will create community hubs across the state to enable coordination of child and family support services across different programs. The starting point for SAFE Child Communities is an expansion of the Children’s Trust Family Centers, family-focused, community-based centers where families access a range of on-site family support services and off-site referrals. Since 2016, the Children’s Trust has partnered with several of its existing Family Centers and TIER to conduct a needs assessment to inform the design, implementation, and evaluation of SAFE Child Communities. We are currently focused on piloting and designing a streamlined Family Center data system.

Contact Rebecca Fauth for more information.

Smart from the Start (SMART)

TIER is working with Smart from the Start (SMART) to evaluate their programs in Boston and Washington, DC. Smart is a place-based family support, community engagement and school readiness organization with a mission to prevent the achievement gap, and to promote the healthy development of children living in the most underserved communities. TIER is working with Smart to evaluate their implementation processes, program outcomes, and extent to which the program has had an impact on the housing developments and wider communities in which Smart programs are situated.

Contact Jessica Goldberg for more information.

Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE)

Based in research that identifies positive experiences in childhood as having mitigating and preventive associations with healthier outcomes later in life, the Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE) framework aims to provide care providers (such as physicians, home visitors, and educators) with knowledge about these associations, and to shift the paradigm of providers from a deficits perspective to a strengths perspective.

TIER’s mixed-methods evaluation of HOPE is an implementation and outcomes evaluation, focusing on the processes involved for organizations that receive HOPE training as they move toward creating a HOPE-informed strategy that is fitting for their organization and its families, implementing the strategy, and identifying changes that come about for families and providers. Some of the areas of focus in this evaluation include influences of providers’ HOPE-informed approaches on: parents’ feelings that their relationships with their providers are collaborative; parents’ parenting-related stress management; parents’ self-efficacy; and provider stress reduction and professional well-being. TIER’s evaluation activities include focus groups and interviews with families and with providers, and pre- and post-HOPE-implementation parent surveys and provider surveys.

Contact Jessica Greenstone for more information.

Evaluation of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) Perinatal Tobacco Cessation Program 

Funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Evaluation of the Healthy Families Massachusetts Partnership with Medical Legal Partnership Boston 

Funded by Children’s Trust, Massachusetts 

The Role of Home Visiting in Supporting Families Involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) 

Funded by Parents as Teachers National Center 

Supporting Parents in Recovery: Joining Together Home Visiting and Recovery Support 

Funded by Tufts Initiative on Substance Use and Addiction 

Engagement and Retention of Fathers in Home Visiting in MA: Lessons from the Field 

Funded by Home Visiting Applied Research Collaborative 

Evaluation of the Medford Interconnected Resiliency Network 

Funded by Medford Office of Prevention and Outreach, City of Medford Board of Health