The purpose of the National Evaluation of Family Support Programs was to understand the effects of family support on families and children. A central task of the evaluation was to synthesize and analyze the body of research on family support, to answer the following questions:
- What were the effects of family support programs and services on families and children?
- How effective were different types of family support programs and services?
- How effective were family support programs and services for children and families with different characteristics, needs and circumstances?
The decision was made to undertake a meta-analysis of research studies and evaluations of family support programs conducted within the last 25 years. In addition to providing a more accurate assessment of the collective results of this research, the strategy has the advantage of producing a publicly-available database of studies that could, if desired, be continuously updated, and that would provide an analytic tool to address a variety of research questions.