A formative evaluation of a coach-based technical assistance model for youth- and family-focused programming

Jonathan R. Olson, Kimberly J. McCarthy, Daniel F. Perkins, Lynne M. Borden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background The Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk (CYFAR) initiative provides funding and technical support for local community-based programs designed to promote positive outcomes among vulnerable populations. In 2013, CYFAR implemented significant changes in the way it provides technical assistance (TA) to grantees. These changes included introducing a new TA model in which trained coaches provide proactive support that is tailored to individual CYFAR projects. The purpose of this paper is to describe the evolution of this TA model and present preliminary findings from a formative evaluation. Methods CYFAR Principal Investigators (PIs) were invited to respond to online surveys in 2015 and 2016. The surveys were designed to assess PI attitudes towards the nature and quality of support that they receive from their coaches. Results CYFAR PIs reported that their coaches have incorporated a range of coaching skills and techniques into their work. PIs have generally positive attitudes towards their coaches, and these attitudes have become more positive over time. Conclusions Results suggest that CYFAR PIs have been generally supportive of the new TA system. Factors that may have facilitated support include a strong emphasis on team-building and the provision of specific resources that support program design, implementation, and evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
StatePublished - Apr 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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