Family Impact Checklists

The Family Impact Checklist for Assessing the Impact of Policies on Families (also available below) can be used for almost any issue and a number of purposes. Consistent with current research evidence, we have identified five family impact principles. Each family impact principle is accompanied by a series of questions that delve more deeply into the ways in which families contribute to issues, how they are affected by them, and whether involving families would result in more effective and efficient solutions. The checklist can be used as a stand-alone tool to help design and evaluate programs and policies, or it can be used as the basis for a full-fledged family impact analysis.

A number of specialized checklists are also available for assessing family impacts in specific settings (e.g., adolescent treatment centers, communities, and schools) and for particular policies (e.g., child and family services plans, school funding formulas, and early care and education policies). These checklists help “organize the vast, complex, and fragmented body of program information, data, and research related to families
into categories and factors that have special relevance for policy and programs” (Ooms, 1995, p. 8). Each item on these checklists is evidence-based. The general idea is to acknowledge the needs of family members and involve them so they can reinforce rather than undermine the goals of the program or policy. Professionals who use these checklists typically contemplate a greater breadth of factors and influences than they might have otherwise.