KidsFirst program evaluation: understanding the relationship between housing insecurity and program effectiveness

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KidsFirst, an targeted early childhood intervention in Saskatchewan, is delivered through home visitation. The KidsFirst program evaluation was a multi-phase evaluation aiming to assess the short-term impact of the program on families and on communities. The qualitative component of this evaluation included 84 individual interviews and 27 focus group interviews with 242 participants. Participants in the qualitative component included: parents; staff, program managers and management committee members; and representatives from supporting agencies. Based on findings from a sub-analysis of the qualitative data, this study investigated why the impact of KidsFirst was limited in families with complex needs. Principally, participants shared how KidsFirst assumed the role of crisis management in the lives of complex-needs families. Housing insecurity in particular led to difficulties retaining these families in the program. Adequate and stable housing may improve program delivery and retention and therefore program impact for some of Saskatchewan’s most vulnerable children and families.
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