Share-a-Meal Compassion Fund Evaluation Strengthening Practices: Preventing a Cycle of Poverty
Authors: Laldinkima Sailo, Beyond Social Services, Toh Chor Yan, Students Care Services, Ranjana Raghunathan, MILK, Lawrence Goh, Students Care Services, Seah Pei Kwang, Beyond Social Services (2008)

With special thanks to our intern Kunal Kripalani, and volunteers from the Nurses Association,
 Madhuri Pai and Lum Kar Wah

An evaluation exercise was completed to assess the practices and impact of the Compassion Fund, a crisis response that aimed to reach a niche population that is often out of the purview of convention social safety nets and state schemes. It focuses on providing timely financial and psycho-emotional relief to families who had a major illness, accident or death of a breadwinner to prevent them from falling into the cycle of poverty.

Out of a total intake of 95 cases thus far, in depth qualitative interviews were done with 34 beneficiaries of the fund. Quantitative indicators such as change in income and expenditure levels, as well as academic results of the children, all of which have a bearing on the Fund’s impact on the family were also collated.
The key findings of the evaluation exercise maintained that while most families indicated that the help provided was beneficial, there is a need to put in place in-built evaluation measures within the Compassion Fund, such as exit reports, that will ensure that future practices and results would be better aligned to the larger objective.  It was also recommended that families with of an incarcerated breadwinner be included into the Fund’s ambit as there had been recurring inquiries by teachers, counselors and social workers.  Lastly, the authors posit that there is a need to focus on skills upgrading for the new breadwinner of the family as it was uncovered that the need for a new member of the family to ‘step up’ into the role was a vital factor that would keep families functioning relatively smoothly during the intervening period.

Evaluation of the live-in family therapy programme: a report of preliminary findings
Author: Manfred Wu, Bukit Ho Swee Family Services Centre (1999)
Paper presented at the first MCD-NCSS-NUS-SASW Joint Social Work Research Symposium, November 1999

The present study employs a pre and post-treatment design to evaluate the effectiveness of Beyond’s pilot Live-in Therapy Programme of its first Family Service Centre. Dimensions for evaluation include family functioning, goal achievement, service acceptability, accessibility, and inter-agency collaboration. Both qualitative and quantitative data are collected from multiple sources, namely clients, therapists and staff of collaborating agencies. Instruments employed include the Family Adapatability and Cohesion Scale (FACES III) by Olson, Portner and Lavee (1985) and the Clinical Rating Scale (CRS) by Olson (1993) for family functioning, the Goal Achievement Scaling (GAS) by Kiresuk and Sherman (1968) for goal achievement, Client Satisfaction Scale-8 by Larsen, Attkinson, Hargreaves and Nguyen (1979) for service acceptability, and self-constructed items on client’s perceived accessibility and quality of inter-agency collaboration. Two cases from the preliminary findings from March to November 1999 are presented. Due to the small number of subjects at the present stage, no statistical evidence of the effectiveness of the programme can be shown. However, data from different sources indicated that the programme is effective in improving the family functioning of the participant-families, and is acceptable and accessible to low-income multiple problem families. Also, it was found that the programme was effective in complementing the work of professionals of collaborating agencies. Finally, suggestions on the completion of the study are introduced.