Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is FRP Canada's e-Valuation system?

The e-Valuation system for family resource programs was developed by FRP Canada in response to requests from its members for practical, meaningful and appropriate evaluation tools. The system consists of a user-friendly national database which will automatically analyze data from two surveys, one designed for participants and one designed for staff and volunteers. Respondents can complete surveys on-line or on paper.

Relevant and meaningful indicators and survey questions were developed and tested with the assistance of family support practitioners across Canada. The database has the capacity to generate individual and aggregate reports in real time, a significant benefit to organizations that want results quickly. Having a common evaluation system for family resource programs across the country will give FRP Canada and others a better understanding about the contribution that family support organizations make to families in Canada.

Why e-Valuation?

The term e-Valuation captures the spirit of this new system. The e- at the beginning indicates that it is an electronic, accessible, Internet-based system. Valuation emphasizes that the intent of this system is to value the important work that is done by family support organizations across the country. This system was designed to assist organizations in their own program development and improvement.

What is a family resource program?

Family support programs are community-based organizations working with children, families and caregivers to enhance strengths, to build capacities and to promote healthy development. Family resources programs (FRPs) come in many shapes and sizes, depending on their history, funding and community needs. Although programs across the country may differ in some ways from one another, they share a strong commitment to the Guiding Principles of Family Support.

Who can use this e-Valuation system?

This system was designed by and for family-serving community-based organizations that practise the approaches outlined in the Guiding Principles of Family Support. Every organization that is a current member of FRP Canada is invited to use this e-Valuation system. View the Participant Survey. View the Staff and Volunteer Survey.

Who funded the development of this system?

FRP Canada has focused on issues relating to the evaluation of family resource programs over several years. Human Resources and Social Development Canada has funded all three phases of work: the first phase identified evaluation issues facing the field, the second phase developed practical and meaningful tools to help organizations conduct their own evaluation and the third phase expanded and improved the e-Valuation system.

Who designed and developed this e-Valuation system?

The Principal Researcher for all phases of the FRP Canada evaluation project was Dr. Peter Gabor from the University of Calgary. Under his guidance, a working group comprised primarily of family support practitioners identified the indicators and tested and revised the two surveys.

What types of indicators are included?

The working group selected core indicators that are consistent with the principles of family support, broadly acceptable in the field, reflective of key processes and outcomes and easy to understand and interpret.

Is participation tied to a particular time period?

The e-Valuation system is open throughout the calendar year. Data is organized within the system based on the year of data entry. Programs are therefore encouraged to enter their surveys by December 31st. Surveys not entered by this date will be included in the next calendar year's reports. Within an e-Valuation season, organizations are encouraged to select a specific three-week period during which to collect data from as many participants, staff and volunteers as possible.

Is it possible to combine data from multiple sites into a single report?

As long as each outreach or satellite site is registered, participating organizations can generate reports for each site separately or reports that combine data from their various sites.

How can organizations participate?

Organizations can register for e-Valuation after taking out a membership in FRP Canada. The annual fee is $150 and brings a number of additional benefits.

What is the cost to participate?

Participation in this e-Valuation system for family resource programs involves no additional cost for current FRP Canada members. FRP Canada's annual membership fee is $150. FRP Canada members receive many cost-saving additional benefits, including access to group health and liability insurance plans. The e-Valuation system has the potential of significantly decreasing costs of regular evaluation activities. Prospective members who wish to participate can obtain a membership very quickly by faxing a completed membership form to (613) 237-8515. Other costs to implement e-Valuation, such as staff time and optional child care support for survey respondents, are variable and the responsibility of each organization.

How much time will this take?

Completing the surveys and inputting data will take time of participants, staff and/or volunteers. Surveys have been designed to be completed in 20 minutes or less. One staff member or volunteer from each organization will take the lead for this project and have a password to access their organization's results. Survey coordinator responsibilities will include registering the organization on-line, orienting colleagues, participants and others about how the e-Valuation system will work (a PowerPoint presentation is provided on the Resource page), creating the version of the Participant Survey that works best for the organization, coordinating the administration and storage of surveys, and ensuring the entry of data from paper surveys onto the on-line database. The number of hours will vary depending on the size of the organization and the number of surveys processed. Responsibilities (such as encouraging individual participants to complete the survey and entering the data on-line) can be shared between staff and volunteers.

Are the surveys available in languages other than English and French?

Since new survey questions were introduced in 2012, we invite organizations to create updated translations for their own communities and then to submit them for posting. Contact Us so that they can be shared with others. These translations will be available only in hard copy format, not on-line. For more information about translations, contact Claire Scanlan.

Who will be able to see my organization's results?

Only the organization's designated staff member using a password can access results for the organization. Organizations can share reports with participants, staff, community partners, board members, funders and others, as they wish. Other than the Administrator at FRP Canada who has access to all the data, no one else can view results for individual organizations. FRP Canada is committed to maintaining the confidentiality of data from individuals and organizations.

How will the anonymity of individuals and organizations be protected?

Both the Participant and Staff and Volunteer Surveys are completed anonymously. Each paper survey can be sealed into a plain envelope by the respondent before submitting. Participants' comments, which could provide clues to the organization's identity, will not be seen by anyone other than the coordinator at the organization and the national administrator. Within a single centre, the database will not report any results if there are fewer than four respondents. Users of the database will be able to group or aggregate data from several organizations together; however, no report will be generated unless the grouping contains at least four organizations.

What will the reports contain?

Reports will show the total numbers and percentages for each rating question as well as the mean and standard deviation for each question. The number of respondents who did not answer or indicated Does Not Apply is also included for each question. Reports also summarize the demographic information provided by respondents. Written comments from the open-ended questions are available as a separate report.

How soon will the reports be ready after the data is entered?

Reports can be generated as soon as four surveys are entered and are automatically re-calculated when new data are added.

What kind of reports can I get in addition to our own data?

Data can be aggregated (grouped) according to geographical location (province/territory and country), type of organization, type of funding and size of community. For example, reports can be generated about family resource programs in large cities in a particular province that are funded by the provincial government, as long as the grouping includes at least four organizations that meet those criteria.

Will organizations be able to track results over time?

Organizations can track their data over time. However, rare, periodic changes to the survey may make some comparisons impossible.

Will organizations be able to obtain their own raw data for further analysis?

Data belong to those who provide it, not to FRP Canada. Each organization has the option to download its own raw data.

Will funders accept these results?

Each funder has its own accountability requirements. Some family support organizations have multiple funders and heavy evaluation demands. FRP Canada is hopeful that this national e-Valuation system will gradually lessen the evaluation burden by reducing duplication and simplifying some evaluation activities. Several funders have already expressed interest in this initiative. It is anticipated that over time this data collection system will become a valued component of their evaluation frameworks. For those centres that do not have specific evaluation requirements already, the use of this national system will demonstrate to their funders and other stakeholders their commitment to quality improvement.

What research evidence supports this e-Valuation system?

In support of this project, FRP Canada has produced ten short literature summaries on themes that are directly related to the questions on the two surveys. Each summary provides some discussion on the topic, selected annotated references and additional references. With this research behind them, e-Valuation system users and their funders can be confident that the system focuses on factors that are known to make a positive difference in the lives of families. The theme papers are located on the Resources page.

How can I register my organization?

You can register your organization in e-Valuation at any time by going to the Register page of the e-Valuation website.

Where can I get more information or help?

Additional help and information is available on the Resources page of the e-Valuation web site. It has several documents available for download including reference copies of the Participant Survey and Staff/Volunteer Survey, ten literature summaries, and a PowerPoint presentation suitable for orienting colleagues and participants about the system. If you have questions relating to e-Valuation, please contact us..