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Scaling Programs for Family, Friend, and Neighbor Caregivers: Learnings From The Packard Foundation’s Informal Care Strategy

Oct 1, 2020

he first five years of children's lives are fundamental to their growth and development. Many children in this age group spend a substantial amount of time being cared for by extended family, friends, or neighbors. Informal care—or Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) care —is both an affordable and a flexible form of care and a way to provide children with a warm, nurturing environment with a trusted caregiver. In 2014, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation's Children, Families, and Communities program launched a 10-year Informal Care Strategy to support FFN caregivers — both nationally and within California — as they provide the kinds of nurturing and enriching experiences children need early in life to reach full potential.

Engage R+D has been the evaluation partner of the Packard Foundation for its Informal Care strategy since 2016. Individual-level and cross-cutting evaluations of its FFN grants showed promising results in terms of their ability to have positive impacts on caregivers. However, as of 2019, the Foundation had not yet conducted a comprehensive study of the third phase of its investment strategy, which related to scaling the most promising practices. This report synthesizes a range of lessons and implications for those interested in supporting and scaling FFN programs, including funders, community organizations, and advocacy groups.