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Clearinghouse for Military Families at Penn State Stars

The Clearinghouse is here to assist you each step of the way as you work to enhance the lives of military families. We’re here to help you consider, plan for, implement, and evaluate evidenced-based programs designed to bolster child, youth, and family resiliency and readiness. Whether it’s helping you conduct a needs assessment in your community, suggesting the best evidence-based program or practice for your situation, providing Web-based training, or developing an evaluation strategy, our team of experts is simply a call or email away.

Our technical assistance specialists are available via live chat, email, or the phone helpline during regular business hours, and our programs database is just one click away at any time. So we invite you to contact us however you prefer.

For individuals for whom you have more immediate concerns, the following hotline phone numbers and online support services may be helpful:  National Hotlines.

For technical assistance with the website, please contact the web administrator.

Evaluation and Metrics

More than ever, our military partners are under considerable budgetary pressure. Budget cuts have happened and more are likely on the way. The need for accountability, which is demonstrating the value of programs and practices in clear terms, is at an all-time high. Programs which demonstrate value are more likely to be funded than those that don’t. Evaluation provides answers to critical questions such as:

  • How do you know if what you are doing is having the desired impact on the military families with whom you work?
  • If asked, could you provide data, identify measures that track your program’s impact, conduct an evaluation, or measure results for a new or existing project or program?
  • Do you want to improve upon something you are doing but not sure how to approach it?

If any of these questions sound like something you’ve been quietly asking yourself (or others have been asking you), then you will be pleased to learn that there are experts at the Clearinghouse who can help! Start by contacting the Clearinghouse technical assistance team.

Implementation Support

The science of program implementation is growing by leaps and bounds, and several leading researchers in this area are at Penn State. Moreover, implementation specialists have on the ground experience working with individuals and communities to implement, evaluate, and sustain evidence-based programs. Our Clearinghouse and Penn State team provides education, consultation, and support to move you successfully through the steps of effective evidence-based programming.

Using sound implementation science to drive your programming efforts will have the most positive impact on military families and can ensure that your program receives the funding and support it needs to succeed. We will work with you through the entire process, making sure that your hard work and dedication translate to the desired results—healthier military families!

To obtain support on any of these steps or other implementation-related tasks, contact our technical assistance providers by starting a live chat, calling us at 1-877-382-9185, or emailing us.

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Support Documentation

We’ve also created some worksheets and informational documents for you to use. These are available to everyone via free download. Feel free to search below or browse via the categories.

Background on Military Families

INFORMATION: Demographics of Military Families - Understanding the Military and Military Families
Consider this a “fast facts” sheet to give you a basic overview of the military population. Demographics such as number of military, average age, length of service, marital status, and number of children are just a few topic areas covered.
INFORMATION: Serving the Military Population
We want to help professionals to be conscious of the common issues and the potential impact they have on military families. In this document, we provide information on relocation, deployment, and transition so you can better understand the challenges and opportunities each issue presents.

Getting Your Community Ready

WORKSHEET: Community Needs Assessment

When you think of a “need,” try to identify it as a gap between where you’re at and where you’d like to be. Examples range from very specific items such as food or housing for families, or the concept of need could be more abstract, such as the need for higher self-esteem among the youth in the community. With this free worksheet, you’ll be able to plan for the steps that can assist you in identifying the most prominent needs in your community.

WORKSHEET: A Tool for Exploring Community Strengths and Needs

Is change needed in your community? This free worksheet is going to take you step- by- step through the process of putting a change effort in place. From evaluating community strengths and weaknesses, to identifying stakeholders, to recognizing supports and barriers. When you’re done, you will have a good idea of what the community’s strengths are and what areas need to be improved before implementing a change effort.

QUIZ: A Tool for Assessing Community Readiness

Does your community have a need? Wondering if you’re ready to start a program? This free quiz walks you through the process and gives you a score so you can easily determine whether or not you’re ready to address the identified need in your community. If you find that your community is not ready, be sure to check out our Exploring Community Strengths and Needs Tool to create a plan to get there.

Choosing the Right Program

WORKSHEET: A Tool for Assessing Program Fit and Feasibility

So you’re ready to deliver a program? Before getting started, you’ll want to make sure the program you choose is the right fit. You will want to find a program that addresses the needs you have identified in your community, fits your budget and resources, and takes into consideration the organization with which you work so you can achieve success. This easy-to-use worksheet leads you through the entire process, step by step.

INFORMATION: Understanding Evidence-Based Programs

What is an “evidence-based program” and why choose one? This sheet will give you a clear breakdown on how we identify evidence-based programs, why we use them, and how you can find one.

Selecting Evidence-Based Programs Reference List

Putting a New Program in Place

INFORMATION: Implementation Frameworks and Models
When you implement a program with quality, the chances of long-term success increase. What does that look like? In this informational sheet, we outline the basics of quality implementation – each stage and how to execute it. We’ve also included examples of successful implementation frameworks.
INFORMATION: Participant Retention Strategies
So you’ve worked hard to recruit participants, now how do you keep them? Communication, convenience, and appreciation are the best methods of retention. This informational document will give you a breakdown of how to use all three methods. We include practical examples that you can use today!
Program Selection and Implementation
Carefully selecting a program that fits the target population and that is feasible based on one’s organizational and community capacity is a critical step in making a difference. Also, planning for and managing challenges that may occur during program implementation is an important step in achieving program outcomes. This informational sheet highlights these key areas and provides resources that can help you through these steps.
Recruitment Strategies for Evidence-Based Programs
Need to start recruiting program participants, but not sure where to begin? We’ve identified a variety of recruitment strategies that can be tailored to your specific target population.
INFORMATION: Understanding Fidelity

Understanding how to deliver high-quality, evidence-based and evidence-informed programs is important to success. Here, we provide guidance and strategies on how to deliver a program with fidelity.

Reference List: Participant Retention Strategies