PROGRESS POST RANDOM ASSIGNMENT
David C. Kimmel, Ph.D.
Program Director, Family Expectations
The results announced by members of our research team today are very encouraging, and we are especially pleased with the research outcomes concerning enhanced relationship quality, increased likelihood of couples remaining together, couples’ increased ability to positively respond to conflict, and increased father involvement in families around the time of birth.
However, although these data are impressive, it is also important for us to say that we strongly believe that if the sample for Building Strong Families (BSF) Oklahoma were collected today, our impact on families would be even greater. Please keep in mind that the couples enrolled in this study participated in Family Expectations during our start-up years, with the last couple entering the study well over two years ago (Random Assignment period: June 2006 to February 2008). Throughout the study, we were constantly implementing new program components and enhancements, a process that continues.
The researchers here today will agree that very few programs regularly and consistently review, analyze and evaluate their performance with the same tenacity and rigor as Family Expectations. While the participation and dosage rates in this study were high in comparison to other programs/studies, we have now exceeded even our own rates of performance and program outputs. The program that the BSF Oklahoma couples received, while good, is now even better. Our overall participation rates are higher, our staff contacts with parents have increased, and we are constructively reinforcing the curriculum concepts more often. Highlights of improved performance include:
- Participation in group sessions for unmarried couples: up from 73% to 81%
- Percentage of couples completing all 30 hours of curriculum: up from 45% to 67%
- Increased total contacts and service provision to couples: for example, while more couples were served in total in July 2007 (426) than in July 2010 (345), those couples served in 2010 received substantially more services designed to help them strengthen their families (e.g., a program total of 1,852 hours in July 2010 versus 432 hours July 2007)
- The percentage of couples who had two in-person contacts with their Family Support Coordinator within the first 4 months of random assignment: up from 79% to 89%
The data presented today provide evidence that new parents are being positively impacted by Family Expectations, and our performance data show that couples are currently receiving an even larger dose of the good services offered by this program.