Innovations in Effective Compassion: Compendium of Research Papers. Presented at the Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Conference on Research, Outcomes, and Evaluation. FBCI Innovations in Governance

07/01/2008

Some of the research papers in this volume present studies about the innovations in governance encouraged by the FBCI and note successful partnerships as well as some of the challenges to be addressed as the FBCI develops in future years. Byron Johnson makes the case that a comprehensive approach to addressing social problems, if brought to scale, would require new partnerships and a significant influx of volunteers, many of whom could be drawn from religious congregations. Johnson examines the case of prisoner reentry, one of the signature federal initiatives of the FBCI, and assesses what it would take to bring this effort to full scale. Because religious activities can play a positive role in the lives of prisoners while they are incarcerated, and research shows that religiosity is associated with reducing negative outcomes and promoting prosocial behavior, Johnson asserts that faith-based organizations can play an important role in helping reduce recidivism. Johnson concludes that intermediaries are necessary to bring a comprehensive prisoner reentry effort to scale because these organizations serve as the bridge between ex-prisoners and the many social service providers and various governmental agencies in the areas of employment, housing, education, and counseling; provide technical assistance and oversight; and offer training to strengthen faith-based and community-based organizational capacity.

Growing the role of intermediaries, developing small grants programs, and providing technical assistance to help build FBCO capacity are important goals of the FBCI. Mitchell Brown focuses her research on organizational capacity and technical assistance issues of FBCO domestic violence service providers who participated in the evaluation of the Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Enforcement Grant Program Special Initiative: Faith-based and Community Organization Pilot Program, or Rural Pilot Program (RPP), funded by the Department of Justice. The RPP is implemented by intermediary organizations to administer competitive small, one-year, grants programs with FBCOs in rural areas for the provision of domestic violence services.

The research reported in this paper is drawn from a survey of funded and nonfunded organizations as well as qualitative interviews with staff members in intermediary and grantee organizations. Overall, the findings indicate that while all of the applicant organizations had many capacity needs, such as reporting requirements and staff training, the most pressing needs were not the ones anticipated, such as obtaining 501(c)(3) status and establishing evaluation benchmarks; rather, these organizations needed help to build their capacity to undertake program evaluation. Overall, Brown concludes that the RPP did help FBCOs build capacity and provided useful technical assistance, and that the funded organizations realized some modest positive changes in capacity compared with those that were not funded.

Encouraging partnerships between FBCOs and government agencies to deliver services to low-income families is an important component of the FBCI. Reporting preliminary findings from a Department of Health and Human Services sponsored study of promising practices and successful partnerships between agencies administering the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program and FBCOs, Courtney Barthle, Rebecca Makar, and Jeannette Hercik present an overview of five TANF and FBCO partnerships, identify the common themes associated with their success, and discuss the implications for possible future collaborations in social services provision for low-income and at-risk families. Common themes relating to the fruitful collaboration between TANF and FBCOs include recruiting a steady volunteer base and providing training to volunteers, establishing a formal referral system for clients from the TANF agency to FBCOs, building program collaborations in increments to allow infrastructure to develop, targeting services to clients that organizations have a strength in serving, and strategically locating services in a place that resonates with the target population.

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"intro.pdf" (pdf, 205.29Kb)

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"Johnson.pdf" (pdf, 294.63Kb)

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"Brown.pdf" (pdf, 311.37Kb)

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"Barthle.pdf" (pdf, 266.23Kb)

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"Fischer.pdf" (pdf, 409.4Kb)

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"about.pdf" (pdf, 143.87Kb)

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"appendix.pdf" (pdf, 130.11Kb)

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