Measuring the Role of Faith in Program Outcomes

April 2008, University of Wisconsin–Madison

This working conference will bring together faith-based service providers, policymakers and evaluators interested in faith-based services for hard-to-serve populations. A key question to be addressed is whether the provision of services such as education and training, alcohol and other drug abuse counseling, and youth mentoring services by FBOs has a differential effect on outcomes for children and families specifically as a result of leveraging the religiosity and spirituality of participants. The working conference's overall goal will be to outline issues important to the evaluation of these programs.

This working conference is being organized by Jennifer Noyes and Maria Cancian, Institute for Research on Poverty, with support from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Bradley Foundation.


Thursday, April 24

Conference Framework and Goals Overview
Maria Cancian, Institute for Research on Poverty, UW–Madison
Jennifer Noyes, Institute for Research on Poverty, UW–Madison

The white paper by Jennifer Noyes (April 2008) "Measuring the Role of Faith in Program Outcomes: Key Conceptual and Methodological Challenges" outlines the conference framework and goals

Friday, April 25

Welcome and Introductions
Maria Cancian, Institute for Research on Poverty, UW–Madison

Panel Discussion: What do we know about the extent to which service delivery by faith-based organizations leads to outcomes that may be attributable to the “faith factor”?

Facilitator: Scott Allard, Brown University
Panelists: Mark G. Harden, Bethel University, Bethel Seminary; Joe Soss, University of Minnesota; and Steven R. Smith, University of Washington

Panel Discussion: What is the intersection between faith and service delivery from the provider perspective?

Facilitator: Jennifer Noyes, UW–Madison
Panelists: Shawn Green-Smith, Faith Partnership Network, Milwaukee; Michael Mata, Claremont School of Theology and Capacity Development Director-U.S. Programs, World Vision; and Linda Ketcham, Madison Area Urban Ministries

Panel Discussion: How could the contributions of faith be measured?

Facilitator: Maria Cancian, UW–Madison
Panelists: Byron Johnson, Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion; Sandra Danziger, University of Michigan; and Tom Gais, Rockefeller Institute

Panel Discussion: Can a framework for measuring the role of faith in program outcomes—designed to inform future policy and evaluation strategies—be developed?

Facilitator: Dan Meyer, UW–Madison
Panelists: Jodi Sandfort, University of Minnesota; Howard Rolston, Abt and Associates; and Heidi Unruh, Congregations, Community Outreach and Leadership Development Project

Closing Comments