The Administration for Children and Families presents the Strengthening Families Evidence Review

Strategies to strengthen families, including those that encourage fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives and support couples’ relationships, are of increasing interest to a wide audience. To provide information to those interested in supporting and operating family-strengthening programs, the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation of the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), contracted with Mathematica Policy Research to conduct a systematic review of research on programs serving low-income fathers or couples. The team included researchers, experts in the field, and practitioners. The Strengthening Families Evidence Review (SFER) targeted studies with a range of designs, including those that assess program effectiveness and those that focus on program implementation only.

During the review process, the research team used criteria similar to other HHS-sponsored systematic reviews to rate each study on the strength of its design for detecting impacts of the program. The rating reflects the level of confidence that should be applied when assessing how well the research design can determine whether the program itself (rather than other factors) caused the reported participant outcomes. The team used three categories to rate studies that examine participant outcomes: high, moderate, and low. Studies that do not include participant outcomes were not rated. For more information on the study ratings, see the SFER rating criteria.

The results of the review are available on this website. Visit the study search to search for studies of interest and to access printable PDFs of each study description. The reports page includes catalogs of research with all study descriptions, available as PDFs. For more information, see a description of the review process.