Research, Evaluation, and Innovation for Children and Families

The Family Partnership evaluates all of its programs and services to ensure their efficacy. We have logic models for all of our programs mapping how they work from starting resources → activities → outputs (numbers served, etc.) → outcomes (how lives changed). Those logic models inform how we collect and analyze data. We have two cutting edge client data systems, and we invest in evaluation resources to ensure that our data systems are well used and can demonstrate our impact on the children and families we serve.

Because we are committed to using a two-generation (2Gen) approach to break intergenerational cycles of poverty, adversity, and trauma, The Family Partnership has also developed an organizational 2Gen Theory of Change to guide our work overall.


The Family Partnership also uses evidence-based practices. These highly effective interventions include Multi-Systemic Therapy and Narrative Exposure Therapy. Evidence-based practices are those whose efficacy has been demonstrated through rigorous independent evaluation.

The Family Partnership participates in and even leads research efforts, helping us innovate and ensure that our services are informed by what science tells us actually works. We are a founding partner of the Change in Mind Institute, an international effort of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and the Palix Foundation/Alberta Family Wellness Initiative to infuse emerging brain science into public policy and direct services in the U.S. and Canada.

As a result of our participation in Change in Mind, The Family Partnership is currently piloting an innovative 2Gen executive functioning curriculum with children in preschool classrooms, and their parents. This is the first such 2Gen curriculum in the country! Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can impair the development of healthy executive functioning, a set of skills that is very important for success in school, careers, and life. Executive functioning helps people plan, anticipate the consequences of future actions and consider alternatives, respond flexibly in new situations, and inhibit potentially harmful or negative responses. Our goal is for all of the children that The Family Partnership serves to become executive functioning superstars, setting them up for success in school and later life!

The Family Partnership has led other research efforts, most notably the Minnesota Family Strength Project, a partnership with the Allina Foundation, Minnesota Historical Society, and Minnesota Public Radio. We asked more than 2,000 Minnesotans “What makes your family strong?” and broke new ground by approaching family strengths from a multicultural perspective. We identified nine characteristics of strong families, as well as the barriers to family strength experienced by Minnesota families. You can download the research report here.

A follow-up research project by Dr. Lynn Heitritter took an even deeper look at Somali Family Strengths, building the first model of family strengths in the Somali community presented in the English language. You can download a report on her research here.

Research and innovation take many forms, and community engagement is essential for getting things right. The Family Partnership has a solid track record of partnering with communities to develop culturally-specific programs, services, and approaches that combine research on best practices with community wisdom about what will actually work for families. An example of this is the BeMore Campaign, which engaged Minneapolis’ African American communities for over 15 years to mobilize community assets to prevent domestic violence in the African American community. The video below is an example of this work.

For more information on the video, and many other resources, visit Healing Brothers.

For more information about research and innovation, contact John Everett Till, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation, by email or at 612.728.2086.