The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Bridge for Families Dual Generation After Work Program

Friday, January 17, 2014
HBG Convention Center, Bridge Hall Street Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Daniel Brisson, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Denver, Denver, CO
Stephanie Lechuga Pena, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Denver, Denver, CO
Background and Purpose

Low-income families living in public housing neighborhoods face considerable obstacles in helping their children achieve academic success. Bridge for Families (BFF) is a dual generation after work program designed to support parents in their efforts to provide children with an effective and supportive educational environment within a supportive and engaged public housing community.  BFF is designed to address needs at the child, family, school and community levels to achieve academic success.  This poster provides qualitative and quantitative results of the BFF pilot study.

Research Questions

  1. Is BFF associated with an improvement in the academic performance of children and family health and well-being?
  2. Do parents identify specific aspects of the curriculum that can be improved? 


BFF consists of ten one and a half hour curriculum sessions. BFF was delivered between January 2013 and April 2013.  Participants were recruited from one public housing site where the researchers are engaged in an ongoing afterschool program. Eight families agreed to participate and completed the ten session curriculum.  Participating families identified primarily as Hispanic with about half being born in the United States.  The average parent age was 36 and the average age of the focal child was 9.  About half of families lived with a spouse or partner. Families had lived in the neighborhood an average of 5 years. A pre-test/post-test design was used to assess program effects. Key informant interviews and observation field notes were used to assess potential curriculum improvements.


T-tests are used to assess program effects. Bonferroni adjustments were not applied to the multiple comparison procedure due to the small sample size.  Pilot study findings are promising. Findings show a significant improvement (p<.05) in parents reporting of children’s overall academic success. Parents also report a significant improvement (p<.05) in the time they have for their child. Testing of constructs in the areas of child well-being, positive behaviors, child parent bond, school engagement, and connections to the community all show results approaching statistical significance.

Through field notes and key informant interviews a number of program improvements are identified.  First, program goals and objectives need to be transparent during the recruitment process. Second, more time is needed for the parent group portion of the sessions to build group rapport and engage in meaningful dialogue.  Finally, the curriculum should be delivered in ten consecutive weeks to address scheduling constraints and increase family commitment and group momentum.  


The BFF pilot study is an innovative dual generation curriculum model focusing on individuals within families within neighborhoods. Despite the sample limitations findings suggest the curriculum can improve academic outcomes for children residing in public housing communities.  Pilot findings also suggest several areas for program improvement. A number of community partners have been identified that may deliver a second pilot of BFF before moving on to a randomized clinical trial.   If findings continue to show improved family outcomes, BFF could be delivered in housing programs across the country to improve the academic outcomes of low-income children.