Over the past fifteen years, close to 100 communities across the country have implemented Family Justice Centers (FJCs) to provide one location where victims of domestic violence and their families can access the range of services they need. The FJC movement was built on the premise that integrating the array of services in the community would improve access and utilization of services, which would improve outcomes at the individual, community, and service levels. While preliminary data suggest that FJCs may be achieving these outcomes, a formal multi-site evaluation is needed to confirm whether FJCs are achieving their goals.
Abt Associates and the Family Justice Center Alliance, two organizations that have been part of the FJC movement since the beginning, will combine their expertise in FJCs and program evaluation to conduct an environmental scan of FJCs across the country, which will serve as the first in a multi-phase effort to measure the effectiveness of FJCs. The environmental scan will focus on two key questions. The first is what do FJCs in operation across the country look like. This question is important because, while guiding principles and best practices are available to communities as they design their own FJC, to be successful, each community has to make decisions regarding the organizational structure, partnerships, services, and other defining elements that best suit the unique conditions in their community. Consequently, all FJCs do not look alike. The second question is whether FJCs can support formal evaluation efforts. Up to now, efforts to evaluate FJCs have been limited. As a result, little is known regarding the availability, quality, and consistency of data across centers. We address both questions by collecting descriptive information in the following seven areas: program governance,operational status, funding, service provision, policy and procedures, data collection and
analytic capabilities, and outputs and outcomes. A program logic model will drive the development of the instrument and online data collection system. The final report will present descriptive information for all current FJCs in each of the above areas,identifying differences across FJCs in areas important to future evaluation efforts, including implementation status, sustainability issues, and data infrastructure. The goal of the study is to collect sufficient information to support a thorough assessment of the extent to which individual FJCs are evaluable and, if so, the most suitable design. ca/ncf