APPI Cross-Site Evaluation: Interim Report

Publisher: Cambridge, MA: Mathematica Policy Research
Mar 27, 2015
Authors
Margaret B. Hargreaves, Natalya Verbitsky-Savitz, Samantha Penoyer, Michaela Vine, Laura Ruttner, and Alena Davidoff-Gore

Key Findings:

 

1. Although the APPI sites vary in the details of their operations, their strategies for building community capacity have been similar in numerous ways. Specifically, the sites are: 

  • Using research-based community mobilization and public health prevention frameworks to structure their collaborative efforts;
  • Engaging a broad spectrum of individual and organizational partners to address complex community problems; and
  • Educating community members through trainings and facilitated conversations. 

2. Most of the sites have been working on these issues for some time and, over the past several decades, have made progress on several fronts. They have been:  

  • Increasing the use of trauma-informed practices by social service agencies through training, technical assistance, and helping families directly through parenting classes and training programs;
  • Working with schools to change school discipline policy and practices to create more nurturing and compassionate school environments; and
  • Helping to start and operate after-school activities, youth-led prevention clubs, and community-based programs to provide opportunities for healthy youth development.

3. Lack of funding limits the reach of the sites' efforts and puts their long-term survival at risk. The APPI sites have been relying, in large part, on the in-kind organizational assets, time, support, and resources of their community partners. However, their staff are small (one or two people); many of the site budgets are tiny (as little as $30,000 per year); and their funding is temporary (short-term grants), which limit the scope and sustainability of their activities.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Public-Private Initiative (APPI) evaluation is a retrospective mixed-methods study designed to answer a central question: “Can a multifaceted, scalable, community-based empowerment strategy focused on mitigating or preventing ACEs succeed in producing a wide array of positive outcomes in a community, including reduction of child maltreatment and improvement of child and youth development outcomes?” The five APPI sites are located outside Seattle in counties characterized by small core cities surrounded by rural areas, bounded by significant geographic features. All five APPI sites have comparatively large ethnic populations. During the past 10 years, the five sites have focused on the complex problem of childhood trauma, and have developed strong, collaborative partner networks that have initiated change at multiple levels across multiple sectors. However, economic realities and political dynamics affected the sites’ access to funding and policy advocacy efforts.

 

This cross-site interim report describes the development, theory of change, and current activities of the five sites. The report also summarizes the state- and county-level trends in ACEs and resilience-related risk and protective factors.