A formative evaluation of a coach-based technical assistance model for youth- and family-focused programming

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Evaluation and Program Planning, ISSN: 0149-7189, Vol: 67, Page: 29-37

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Jonathan R. Olson, Kimberly J. McCarthy, Daniel F. Perkins, Lynne M. Borden
Elsevier BV
Business, Management and Accounting, Psychology, Social Sciences, Medicine
article description
The Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk (CYFAR) initiative provides funding and technical support for local community-based programs designed to promote positive outcomes among vulnerable populations. In 2013, CYFAR implemented significant changes in the way it provides technical assistance (TA) to grantees. These changes included introducing a new TA model in which trained coaches provide proactive support that is tailored to individual CYFAR projects. The purpose of this paper is to describe the evolution of this TA model and present preliminary findings from a formative evaluation. CYFAR Principal Investigators (PIs) were invited to respond to online surveys in 2015 and 2016. The surveys were designed to assess PI attitudes towards the nature and quality of support that they receive from their coaches. CYFAR PIs reported that their coaches have incorporated a range of coaching skills and techniques into their work. PIs have generally positive attitudes towards their coaches, and these attitudes have become more positive over time. Results suggest that CYFAR PIs have been generally supportive of the new TA system. Factors that may have facilitated support include a strong emphasis on team-building and the provision of specific resources that support program design, implementation, and evaluation.

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