Programming Connection

The H.E.R. Pregnancy Program 

Edmonton, Alberta


In April 2012, the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research (ACCFCR) contracted an independent evaluator to conduct an impact evaluation of the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program. The evaluation included a photovoice project, staff focus groups, key informant interviews with stakeholders, analysis of program data and a social return on investment analysis.

Findings from the program evaluation (April 2011 to July 2013) demonstrate that the program is successfully supporting women to feel empowered, linking women with social and health resources, and supporting women to achieve their health and parenting goals. The program is successfully supporting mothers who would like to become parents to keep their children.

The findings also show that the program is helping women to access health and social services and that women are experiencing a number of positive changes related to substance use and sexual practices. The evaluation also indicates that women in the H.E.R. program are feeling more empowered to stay safe and be involved in decisions about the care of their babies.

The social return on investment analysis revealed that every dollar invested in the program yields $8.24 in social value.

Key outcomes between 2011 and 2013:

  • One hundred and thirty-four street-involved pregnant women received services/support from the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program over the evaluation period.
  • Fifty-three percent of babies remained in the care of their mothers and 8% went into the care of family and friends. Children and Family Services estimates that 95–100% of these births would have resulted in apprehension without the intervention of the H.E.R. program.
  • Of the women who were unable to parent because of homelessness or other factors, 70% were able to explore options for staying connected with their babies and involved in planning.
  • Women in the H.E.R. program received the following health and social services: general support (100%), health education (94%), referral (75%), health services (74%) and advocacy support (74%).
  • Client substance use was reported in 60% of the 139 pregnancies. While connected to the program, women reported elimination of use (40%), safer use (37%) and reduction of substance use (26%), at least once during their pregnancy with the program.