University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Measuring the “faith factor” in social service program outcomes

The Institute for Research on Poverty’s working conference on “Measuring the Role of Faith in Program Outcomes” was convened to begin to address gaps in knowledge about whether and why the faith factor might improve social service program outcomes. Support for the conference was provided by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Faith-based providers, current evaluators of faith-based services, and other experienced evaluators in attendance all left with a better shared understanding and an articulation of the elements of FBO service delivery that require evaluation. In this brief summary of conference outcomes, Jennifer Noyes summarizes the key evaluation challenges identified: What are faith-based services? How does context influence the role of faith? How does faith intersect with service delivery? And how does the interaction of faith and service provision affect desired outcomes? Noyes concludes by noting the opportunities and directions for additional research in this arena that may be fruitful for learning the contribution of the faith factor in social service program delivery.


Economic Support, Means-Tested Programs