The Shared Family Care demonstration project: Challenges of implementing and evaluating a community-based projectedit
Shared Family Care (SFC) is a demonstration program designed to assist families who are involved, or are at risk of involvement, with the child welfare system. Reasons for being at risk of involvement may include homelessness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and being a teen parent. SFC can serve either single-parent or two-parent headed families. The National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center (AIARC) at The University of California at Berkeley has evaluated several SFC demonstration programs in California and Colorado since 1997. This paper begins with an overview of SFC and then presents a case study of one country’s program to illustrate challenges and benefits associated with program implementation and evaluation. Particular emphasis is given to the challenges and conflicts faced by the AIARC evaluation team, who are in a dual role of providing technical assistance while evaluating the programs. Also discussed is the issue of multi-agency collaborations. The paper concludes with recommendation for improving the implementation of demonstration projects and evaluating such programs.