Posts Tagged by program evaluation
|June 13, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Evaluation, Management, Research||
This spring I’ve been lucky enough to be working with a colleague on a multi-program evaluation project after an extended absence from the world of outcome measurement. It is a bit like riding a bicycle, in that your never forget HOW to do it, but it seems I did forget the pleasure that is found in working with agency staff as they help inform the evaluation plan and models, assist in identifying key indicators and witness the first round of data come in for review. Each project allows me to get up close and personal with a new nonprofit organization as well as to meet exemplary, dedicated nonprofit professionals at all phases of their careers, but there is something about evaluation that really gets to the essence of a nonprofit. I am, indeed, glad to be back in the measurement mix.
My colleague shared this link with me and because there is so much I love about this succinct, on point article, Six Pieces of Advice to Demystify Evaluation by Johanna Morariu, Director of the Innovation Network, I wanted to post on it rather than just send the link off into the tweetosphere.
No matter where your organization is in the evaluation (or for that matter strategic) planning process, start making data collection your friend. Immediately. It’s not going away (ever), there are more tools than ever before to help with it, and even if you hire an outside firm to conduct your evaluation – eventually their contract ends and it falls to your organization to sustain it. Don’t spend a dime on a contract or software until you know you will be able to do so. Not to worry though, a thorough consultant involves you and your staff in each step of the process and will provide the necessary technical assistance during the transition to ensure you will be able to take over the reins.
So, feel free to make eye contact with and extend a hand to that evaluation. Soon, when you are knee deep in useful data for your board, clients, funders and community supporters you won’t be able to remember life without it.
|March 13, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Juvenile Delinquency, Program Model, Research||
A recent study from the RAND Corporation on the effectiveness of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe, a residential and mentoring program aimed at 16 and 17 year old high school dropouts, found the intervention to be both cost effective and beneficial to the youth cadets.
A rigorous evaluation of the program (that operates in over half of the states of the country) found substantial long-term benefits to the program participants including a high level of educational attainment and the related social and financial rewards. A cost-benefit analysis of Youth ChalleNGe estimated that it provided $2.66 worth of social benefits for each $1.00 invested in the program. The report did not identify many long-term benefits to the larger community (such as reduced criminal activity) associated with the program, however, some may be inferred from the significant impact on the individual participants.
The full report, A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program by Francisco Perez-Arce, Louay Constant, David S. Loughran and Lynn A. Karoly, and a one-page summary of the findings are available at the RAND website.
Individualized Services, Lower Caseloads & Higher Adoption Rates: The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Program Evaluation Report
|October 27, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Evaluation, Program Model||
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA) and its Wendy’s Wonderful Kids initiative strive to increase adoptions of foster children in the United States and some provinces in Canada. A recent evaluation of the program found that it is more successful in attaining the goal of adoption than traditional casework and adoption models.
The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK) program, funded partially from donations from Wendy’s restaurants, administers grants through DTFA to adoption agencies across the country who then work with local professionals to place children in the foster care system with adoptive families. The process is highly individualized, with much attention paid to getting to know the children and placing them with recruited, well-vetted families according to the history, strengths and unique needs of the youth. In this model, WWK staff carry a caseload of 12 to 15 children.
The evaluation found that overall; the youth in the WWK program were more likely to be adopted (1.5 times more) than youth outside the program and those who had mental health diagnoses were three times more likely to be adopted than their counterparts in the control group. Also, as the age of the child increased, so did the likelihood that they would be adopted compared to youth receiving traditional services; for example, the report states that youth entering the program at age 11 were twice as likely to be adopted and those referred at age 15 were three times as likely to be adopted. Taking this data at face value it appears the model used by the WWK works exceptionally well with youth sometimes considered more challenging to place in adoptive families (those with special needs, teenagers, etc.).
Demographics of the intervention group, a more detailed breakdown of the findings and information on the WWK program model are available in the Evaluation Report Summary and other evaluation materials at the Child Trends website. A fact sheet of the findings is also available.
Citation of Evaluation Report: Malm, K., Vandivere, S., Allen, T., DeVooght, K., Ellis, R., McKlindon, A., Smollar, J., Williams, E. and Zinn, A. (2011). Evaluation Report Summary: The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Initiative, Child Trends, Washington, D.C.