The PFR initiative is multifaceted and complex, involving diverse FTCs implementing a family-centered treatment approach and evidence-based practices in varying community and sociopolitical contexts. The complexity of systems transformation requires that the PFR evaluation incorporate several evaluation approaches including realist, developmental and empowerment frameworks. The realist approach is intended to identify the underlying mechanisms that explain ‘how’ the system changes and outcomes were achieved, and the influence of context on results. This approach is a good fit for examining collective impact initiatives—such as PFR—that involve multiple activities, programs and strategies that interact in mutually reinforcing ways and evolve over time toward higher levels of specificity.
The evaluation is designed to yield a context-rich story of the grantees’ successes, challenges and solutions and to explore the related changes in the direction and strength of program outcomes. These evaluation stories and identification of mechanisms and strategies will inform the FTC field’s understanding of how a family-centered approach is integrated into the larger FTC systems of care and what results might be expected so that effective innovations can be replicated and expanded.
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