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.
Adaptation and Use of Evidence-Based Home Visiting for Justice System-Involved Young Mothers
Funded by Evidence Based Practice Group, Annie E. Casey Foundation
Birth to Third Grade Partnership: Home Visiting Needs Assessment for the City of Cambridge
Funded by the City of Cambridge
Evaluation of Early Intervention Parenting Partnerships (EIPP) Program
TIER conducted a mixed methods evaluation of the Early Intervention Parenting Partnerships (EIPP) program funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH). 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 comprised 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.
Engagement and Retention of Fathers in Home Visiting in MA: Lessons from the Field
This small qualitative study examined father engagement in home visiting using SEED funding from the Home Visiting Applied Research Collaborative (HARC). The study described the techniques home visitors use to engage fathers and how fathers’ engagement in home visiting is expressed. The study also examined the degree to which the use and effectiveness of home visitors’ techniques are influenced by fathers’ motivation and determination to participate in home visiting, home visitor commitment to father engagement, and program-level policies and practices pertaining to father inclusion. Finally, the study explored benefits to families of father engagement in home visiting, highlighting fathers’ involvement in parenting, the co-parenting relationship, relationship quality, and parenting stress and mental health, and how these benefits may promote mothers’ program retention.
Evaluation of the Gender Equity Model Sites Initiative
Funded by the Schott Foundation for Public Education
Evaluation of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) Perinatal Tobacco Cessation Programs
TIER was contracted by the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program (MTCP) at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to conduct an evaluation to understand how MDPH can better tailor its tobacco and nicotine cessation efforts to meet the unique needs of pregnant and parenting people in Massachusetts, with the goal of promoting quit success. The goals of the mixed methods evaluation were to understand: (1) the prevalence of tobacco use among pregnant and parenting clients of substance use treatment and family support programs in Massachusetts; (2) substance use treatment and family support provider preparedness to support tobacco cessation efforts, and how preparedness differs between the two provider types, (3) substance use treatment and family support provider practices related to working with clients who use tobacco, and how these practices differ between the two provider types, and (4) factors related to tobacco reduction or cessation among substance use treatment and family support program clients.
Evaluation of the Massachusetts Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MA-MIECHV)
The Massachusetts Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MA MIECHV), a federally-funded program administered by the 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.
Evaluation of the Summer Learning Collaborative
TIER was the evaluation partner for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley’s Summer Learning Collaborative (SLC), a social and emotional learning (SEL) initiative offered in 15 summer programs serving 12 partners and more than 2,000 K-8th grade children who live in low-income communities within the Greater Boston area. The SLC program model uses education professionals experienced in SEL to coach SLC partners on how to implement developmentally appropriate SEL methods and practices in their summer programs. These practices are focused on the five SEL competencies taught by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) framework.
FIRST Steps Together Evaluation
TIER was contracted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to evaluate FIRST (Families In Recovery SupporT) Steps Together, a home visiting program available to people 18 years of age or older who have used opioids and/or stimulants in the past or present, and who is pregnant or expecting a child, or has at least one child age 5 or younger. FIRST Steps Together currently operates in seven sites across Massachusetts and is delivered by a peer recovery workforce cross-trained in parenting support.
Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE)
TIER’s mixed-methods evaluation of HOPE was 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.
Laying the Groundwork for a Child Maltreatment Prevention Initiative: A Community-Based Mixed Methods Approach
Funded by Tufts Collaborates
Massachusetts Healthy Families Evaluation—Phase 1
Funded by Children’s Trust, Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
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 were 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, economic well-being, and children’s physical health.
Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) and Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant Needs Assessments
TIER was contracted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to conduct the needs assessment for the Massachusetts Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MA MIECHV) Program. The goals of the MA MIECHV needs assessment were to: (1) identify communities with concentrations of risk; (2) identify the quality and capacity of existing programs or initiatives for early childhood home visiting in the state; (3) discuss the state’s capacity for providing substance use treatment and counseling services to individuals and families in need of such treatment or services; and (4) coordinate with and take into account requirements of the Title V, CAPTA, and Head Start needs assessments. TIER’s broader aims were to generate a comprehensive understanding of the needs of families with young children across Massachusetts within the context of racial inequities, to determine whether existing family support programs and services are sufficient to both meet families’ needs and effect change at a structural level, and to identify strategies to strengthen the state’s early childhood systems of care.
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 the extent to which the program has had an impact on the housing developments and wider communities in which Smart programs are situated.
Study of Criminally Prosecuted Pregnant and Postpartum People
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) contracted with TIER to undertake a mixed methods study focused on the criminal prosecution of pregnant and postpartum people with earmarked state funding that was legislatively mandated. TIER plans to analyze a range of secondary data sources to estimate the prevalence of parents and children affected by the criminal justice system and undertake a literature scan to identify effective interventions to support families who experience criminal justice involvement.
Supporting Parents in Recovery: Joining Together Home Visiting and Recovery Support
Using funding from the Tufts Initiative on Substance Use and Addiction, this small qualitative study examined how two unique home visiting programs administered by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health integrate recovery support for substance use disorder and parenting support. FIRST Steps Together is a homegrown program that began in 2019 that is currently operating in seven sites. Its primary services are delivered by a peer recovery workforce cross-trained in parenting support. The Parents as Teachers (PAT) pilot is an enhancement to PAT, an evidence-based home visiting program that operates internationally. The PAT pilot (currently in three sites) is led by a PAT parent educator with lived experience as a person in recovery who is trained in both the PAT model and recovery coaching. The study explored the unique needs of parents in recovery, home visitors’ techniques to support parents with recovery and parenting, perceived outcomes for parents, and recommendations to strengthen both programs.
Touchpoints Early Child Care and Education Initiative Evaluation
Funded by Evidence Based Practice Group and the Annie E. Casey Foundation funded by Brazelton Touchpoints Center funded by Evidence Based Practice Group and the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Tufts Young Fathers Study
Funded by the William T. Grant Foundation and Children’s Trust, Massachusetts