Bringing Business Intelligence to the Winning Fathers Initiative

Date: June 25, 2010
Location: College Park, MD

The Maryland Department of Human Resources contracted Optimal Solutions Group, LLC (Optimal) to evaluate the effectiveness of the Winning Fathers Demonstration Project (WFDP). The program seeks to enable participating couples to develop healthy marital relationships in their homes and communities, improve the participating couples’ abilities to resolve conflict, advance the overall well-being of the children in the household, and improve the families’ economic stability.

Optimal developed the pre- and post-survey design to measure the effectiveness of the WFDP. The evaluation design gauges the change in fathers’ communication skills, conflict resolution skills, relationship satisfaction, and negative interactions after they complete the WFDP program; a positive change indicates effectiveness. The pre-surveys reflect participating fathers’ personal attitudes toward their relationships and parenting roles before they began the WFDP program. The post-surveys portray any changes to the fathers’ attitudes and behavior after they have completed the WFDP program. During the time period between answering the pre- and post-surveys, fathers and partners participate in educational sessions that provide opportunities to embrace the skills learned during the WFDP program.

Bringing Business Intelligence to the Winning Fathers Initiative

To facilitate program administration, implementation and data collection for the evaluation, Optimal created a HIPAA-compliant customized web-based case management system, the Fatherhood Management Information System (FMIS). WFDP program staff and administrators use the FMIS to record and track participant demographic, attendance, and survey information. Optimal customized the FMIS to capture the appropriate WFDP attendance outcomes, survey instruments, and performance measures. The FMIS is highly adaptable in allowing for program administrators to modify, add, or remove participants, measures, activities, outcomes, and reports with relative ease. Optimal continues to manage a helpdesk to ensure all WFDP site requests are met and the FMIS operates to meet the needs of the program sites.

The FMIS provides real-time participant and performance data and analytical reports to WFDP sites. To maximize the value of real-time data collection and analysis, Optimal is designing a real-time dashboard that displays various attendance, compliance, and eligibility reports. These reports will communicate the completed progress towards achieving program benchmarks. In addition to displaying the evaluation outcomes, the dashboard will help guide program administrators to make crucial decisions in support of WFDP. The dashboard will not only display evaluation outcomes and monitor the progress made towards meeting program performance metrics, but it also will provide program administrators with the necessary business intelligence to improve the efficacy of the WFDP program.