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National Alliance to End Homelessness Family Conference Assessment Tools Roundtable. Charlene Moran Flaherty State and Local Policy February 7, 2008. CSH’s Mission. CSH helps communities create permanent housing with services to prevent and end homelessness. Family Connections.

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National Alliance to End Homelessness Family Conference Assessment Tools Roundtable

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National Alliance to End Homelessness Family Conference Assessment Tools Roundtable

Charlene Moran Flaherty

State and Local Policy

February 7, 2008

CSH’s Mission

CSH helps communities create permanent housing with services to prevent and end homelessness.

Family Connections

  • Prevent children from entering child welfare system

  • Reduce TANF caseload

  • Non-recurrence of abuse and neglect

  • Increase in stability/self-sufficiency

Evaluation Goals

  • Conscious shift from focus on outputs to investing in outcomes

  • Reduce the gap between knowledge and practice

    • Which programs are effective?

    • What interventions produce results?

    • Where do we target investment?

Evaluation Goals

  • Support activities that make a real difference in lives of families

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of Family Connections

  • Implement method of understanding what works & what doesn’t

  • Identify best practices

Arizona Self Sufficiency Matrix

  • Engagement tool

  • Basic Assessment

  • Evaluation

Arizona Self Sufficiency Matrix

Arizona Self Sufficiency Matrix


  • Periodicity of Data Collection

    • At program entry and exit

    • Three month interim

  • All adults over the age of 18

  • Complete by client together with case manager

  • Score to the deficit

Models – Measurement

  • Is this assessment technique valid and reliable?

  • Using factor analysis, the instrument was found to measure overall self-sufficiency and 2 subscales:

    • Economic self-sufficiency

    • Social/emotional self-sufficiency

    • Total composite score

Models – Predictive

  • Equations are generated from data submitted to determine the predictors of change in social emotional and economic self-sufficiency and total composite self-sufficiency score

  • Each individual’s predicted change is uniquely determined based upon the client’s individual characteristics

  • These predicted changes constitute the expected change

Client Data

  • 568 unduplicated adult clients

  • 2/3 completed entry matrix

  • 84 clients with entry and exit matrices.

  • 24 have been in the program 3 months

  • 60 terminated with less than 3 months

  • The differences between those who “stick” and those who terminate are dramatic with longer term clients benefiting and the shorter term having minimal gains.

Change Entry to Exit by Time in Program

Level of Functioning

  • More than 1/3 of clients either homeless or being evicted. More than ½ recently or currently homeless

  • Two out of every five clients had parenting skills which ranged from “inadequate to dangerous”

  • Approaching 1/3 of clients assessed to be functioning at a crisis level

  • School age children of one in seven clients not enrolled in school

Entry Problem Ranked

  • Problem AreaScore

  • Employment1.69

  • Income2.19

  • Food2.21

  • Shelter2.54

  • Childcare2.59

  • Community Involvement2.66

  • Family Relations2.67

  • Mobility2.90

  • Adult Education2.96

  • Life Skills3.34

  • Health Care3.38

  • Parenting Skills3.49

  • Mental Health3.76

  • Safety3.96

  • Children’s Education4.22

Change in individual Clients

  • Change in individual clients over time initially encouraging.

  • 3 month matrices

    • Typical client improved in social-emotional self sufficiency more than a quarter (.28) of a standard deviation

    • Improvement in economic self-sufficiency was even more dramatic approaching half (.42) of a standard deviation

  • The overall change in self-sufficiency also approached half of a standard deviation (.44)

Change in Individual Clients

  • Changes in client scores not the result of focusing on clients with fewer challenges. Rather, the lowest functioning clients made the greatest changes.

  • Hence, not only were the lowest functioning clients changing the most, but the increased correlations over time indicate that the impact is greater at 6 months than at 3

Change in Individual Clients

  • Entry to 6 months – The service most related to positive changes in economic self-sufficiency is rent assistance.

  • The best predictors of positive outcomes in social-emotional self-sufficiency are utility assistance and education and training.

  • Changes in overall self-sufficiency - Same three variables occur, with utility assistance having as much positive impact as the education/training and rent assistance combined.


  • What are the client characteristics that are indicative that an individual is more likely to benefit from a program?

  • Do individual workers tend to be more effective with specific types of families?

  • What is the differential impact of the varying services offered by DES and contracting agencies to clients and what is their cost effectiveness?

  • Can we construct an “early warning system” which alerts us that based on client outcome that a worker, service delivery site or supervisor needs assistance in being effective?


  • Is there an optimum time frame to work with families to maximize demonstrable effectiveness of intervention?

  • Is there a substantive difference between professional and paraprofessional staff in client outcomes?

  • How important is the time lag between first referral to FC and first interview with program staff in terms of eventual program impact?


  • Benefits

    • Client centered practice

    • Continuous program improvement

    • Target resources more effectively

    • Increased investment in

    • Incubator for new activity

  • Challenges

    • Provider buy-in

    • Data collection/scrubbing

    • Evaluation expertise

    • Cost

Charlene Moran


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