Back to Results

< Previous   Next >

This policy implementation study explored the measurement of family outcomes in early intervention using data collected from parent responses to the Family Benefits Inventory (Harbin & Neal, 2003). Study participants were 296 families from across North Carolina who had participated in the state's early intervention program for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families (Part C, IDEA). Parents rated their perception of family status on a comprehensive set of 36 outcomes identified in the literature as expected or reported benefits of participation in early intervention and reported the outcome areas in which they had received services and supports. Overall, families report that they made progress and benefited as a result of participation in early intervention. Ratings of status indicate all families are doing well in a number of outcome areas and the majority of families are doing very well in most outcome areas. The findings provide a descriptive portrait of how families overall are doing in outcome areas after exiting early intervention. Exploratory factor analysis revealed four intercorrelated dimensions in the outcomes data: Well-being, Knowledge, Control, and Involvement. Ecological characteristics of the child, family, service provider, early intervention program, and community were examined for association with family outcome status as measured by factor scores on the four dimensions. Family socioeconomic status, service provider use of family-centered practice, child level of disability, and race/ethnicity had the strongest practical effects as predictors. Hierarchical multiple regression revealed that family centeredness contributes additional variance in family status after controlling for child and family variables. The Family Benefits Inventory demonstrates sound psychometric properties and provides a practical means of gathering data from a large number of families across programs and communities. The results of this study provide a unique contribution to the knowledge base about measurement of family outcomes, which is important in offering accountability to policy makers, families, practitioners, and others interested in the results of early intervention efforts.