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Evaluation of Safe Horizon Family Court Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $496,739)

The proposed work involves a partnership between RAND and Safe Horizons to evaluate the Safe Horizons’ empowerment-based intervention within New York City Family Court settings. The Family Court program, located in New York City, hears cases involving children and families, and has jurisdiction and responsibility over certain issues involving child custody and visitation, child abuse and neglect, child support, and offenses such as domestic violence. Safety planning is a core intervention designed to support survivors by identifying safety behaviors that could reduce their likelihood of re-victimization.

The research will conduct a clarificative evaluation and evaluability assessment of the Safe Horizon Family Courts program to improve policy and program planning. The research will identify the program’s core components, understand and improve program processes, and overcome barriers to effective service delivery, as well as assess the readiness of the Family Courts program to participate in an evaluation of the program’s overall impact. The study will unfold in five stages: 1) Conduct a comprehensive literature review to explore research into, and evaluations of, family court services to survivors of domestic violence; 2) Develop a logic model, including the development of fidelity metrics, to track how consistently the program is implemented in alignment with program design; 3) Collect data from a variety of sources, including site visits, stakeholder interviews, document review, and administrative data; 4) Analyze current program data and qualitative data to understand how the program operates in a real-world setting, including an evaluabilty assessment; and 5) Develop an implementation guide for the Family Court program. Additional qualitative analyses (e.g., interviews, observations, document reviews), and an analysis of program data will yield a fuller picture of these court programs. Additionally, these analyses will allow stakeholders to assess whether the program can support a rigorous evaluation.

In addition to the development of a logic model, implementation guide, and assessment of future outcome evaluation potential, it is anticipated the findings of this project will also allow advocates, researchers, trainers, justice administrators, and practitioners to make realistic assessments and develop more successful strategies for introducing change in the family court context. In addition, this research will provide valuable feedback to state court systems, bar associations, victim advocacy organizations, and others who often express frustration about their ability to access effective programming for domestic violence victims.

"Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14). CA/NCF

Date Created: September 13, 2019