The Family Strengthening Network (FSN) aims to build resilience in the family unit as a whole, thus improving the quality of life of all family members. The Senator Walter Rand Institute (WRI) is a research and public service center at Rutgers-Camden that has worked with FSN to conduct an evaluation study of FSN. The research goal is to understand the efficacy of the family advocacy model employed by the Family Strengthening Network and to unravel the contributing factors to that efficacy. A mixed-method approach is used to get a holistic perspective on the work that family advocates do with the families they serve.
Family Advocate Satisfaction
Qualitative data was collected through interviews conducted with family advocates, in an effort to further understand the effective ways in which they support families. The qualitative report seeks to expand on the analysis to detail what specifically the advocates provide to families that assist families and provide insights on the effective ways that family advocates support and positively impact families. Interviews were conducted with a small group of family advocates at the Family Strengthening Network. The interviews utilized semistructured, open-ended questions All interviews were conducted remotely, either through Zoom technology or over the phone, from May 2021 through June 2021. The interviews were coded and analyzed to answer the question about the effectiveness of the FSN program.
The findings show that the family advocates’ effectiveness can be understood in their work process and the outcomes they work to empower the families to achieve. In general, the process of family advocate’s work shows how and why a certain outcome is achieved. The outcomes measure the success of the program. Family advocates’ relationship building and maintenance, as well as their advocacy role, are central to their work process for empowering families and delivering the FSN outcome, “thrive amidst life’s challenges.” It should be considered that COVID-19 has impacted this process during the pandemic. Understanding family advocates’ work process provides insights on family advocates’ barriers and how the advocacy is implemented as intended. This could unfold why the desirable outcomes were or were not achieved. Other influential factors impact family advocate’s effectiveness, such as the family advocates’ expertise and where they visit families.