History of the Family Development Matrix Project

The Family Development Matrix (FDM) early history begins with its original design in Iowa in the mid-1990s. A regional community action program developed it to track its services with families. A Health and Human Services “scales committee” in Washington, D.C. established three matrices…family, community and agency. The ROMA website offered it as an outcome based accountability tool.

The Institute for Community Collaborative Studies at California State University Monterey Bay began conducted local workshops using these matrices in 1997. In 1999, the Cowell Foundation funded the development of the database and the Packard Foundation sponsored a reliability study. From these beginnings, ICCS modified the FDM for outcomes assessment in Nevada Early and Head Start programs, Pre-school programs in Atlanta and Tulsa, neighborhood centers in Toledo, senior, pre-school and medical service programs in Orlando, Girl Scouts in Monterey, and Little Havana partnerships in Miami.

ICCS and Strategies Central Region began their collaboration with Office of Child Abuse Prevention funding in 2005. Under project management by the Institute for Community Collaborative Studies they organized 5 county-based collaboratives to design and implement the FDM with family resource centers (FRCs). The Family Development Matrix and the Pathways Project Kick-off Meeting July 21, 2005 in Sacramento, CA had representatives from CDSS, OCAP; CSUMB, ICCS; Strategies and the Foundation Consortium to discuss the Family Development Matrix Project and to brainstorm on points of intersection and planning the next steps for collaboration. The following counties were selected to participate in the first cohort of the project…Stanislaus, Tehama, San Francisco, Ventura, and Butte Collaboratives.

The goal was to build capacity in public/private partnerships with child welfare and community based agencies using the FDM as an outcome assessment tool for differential response referrals to facilitate family assessment, broaden services, and keep children in safe, stable and nurturing homes. In 2006-2007, ICCS collaborated with the Harvard University Pathways Mapping Initiative. This research resulted in the development of a best practice model entitled the “Pathway to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect”.