SOCW6311 Walden Program Evaluation Benefits Concerns Stakeholders Paper

Respond to a colleague by doing all of the following:

  • Identify the stage or stages of the program to which your colleague’s selected question relates.
  • Suggest an additional question or concern that stakeholders may have about program evaluation.
  • Recommend an alternative model for the evaluation.

Response to Erica

The program I have chosen is an early intervention program for children birth to three. They provide assessments and in-home therapy for those children that qualify. I refer to this program frequently for babies who are born with neonatal drug exposure. Babies who have been exposed to drugs in utero have a higher chance of developmental delays and can benefit from early intervention. This program takes referrals from anyone, including parents or persons in the community and is a voluntary program. The initial assessment is always free, but ongoing therapies are income based.

A program evaluation model that would prove successes and failures of the program is program monitoring. Program monitoring evaluations can use various types of data gathering to monitor the functioning of the program (Dudley, 2014, p. 72). Some ways of collecting data could be communication with physicians to evaluate progress medically for the children involved, questionnaires to parents and caregivers and reviewing documents. The biggest question that funders (state and federal) want to know, is if the program is providing beneficial services to children in need. They want to know that their services are worth their dollars.

This type of program evaluation will give stakeholders information straight from medical professionals and parents; two key providers in the care of the child. Physicians can verify if the early intervention program is helping the child meet developmental milestones or if there is something lacking. Parents and caregivers spend the most time with these children and can readily report on new skills and/or regression of skills. Both providers (physicians and parents/caregivers) are individuals who are truly invested in the wellbeing of these children. With this data gathering, the program can determine what needs work and what is working well already. This would help them make appropriate changes to increase the successes of the program. “The results also offer numerous opportunities for the agency to engage in informal conversations with clients on topics for which they have different views” (Dudley, 2014, p. 73).

Some concerns that stakeholders may have could include the lack of participation from individuals and how it affects the full data. Some parents may not see the significance behind completing the survey, physicians may be too busy to cooperate and reviewing documents takes time. All of these areas are of concern and can affect the data collected. One way to engage parents may be to have a conversation with the parent during a visit that is already scheduled. The provider can ask questions and make notes of the parent’s answers, which allows the parents to not have to physically complete anything and makes it easier. Making this interaction as convenient and easy as possible, more parents are likely to cooperate. Communicating with physicians can be challenging because of their busy schedule. Incentives for physicians could be a way to overcome this challenge. Or, again, making the exchange of information as easy as possible. This could be done over a luncheon, event where the provider will already be present or visiting their office. Reviewing data could be done a little bit at a time, so it is not so overwhelming to complete at once. Reviews should be done on a regularly scheduled time frame, so ensure accuracy and consistency with data collecting.

References

Dudley, J. R. (2014). Social work evaluation: Enhancing what we do. (2nd ed.) Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

Response to Meghan

Program Overview

The program I have selected is Safe at Home program. This program is provided by several different agencies. The program is grant funded. It provides wraparound services to high-risk youth ages 12 to 18. The program provides a wraparound plan which identifies needs and strengths of the client and family and provides goals for the client to help ensure they can safely remain in their home (Walker & Bruns, 2006). Wraparound services ensure the client and family have all the support they may need to keep the youth in the home.

Program Evaluation Model

A program evaluation model to be utilized with the program is the program monitoring evaluation in order to answer the question,” Is the program successful in keeping kids in their homes or community?”. This evaluation model attempts to understand if the program is being applied as it was planned to and to the appropriate population in which in intended (Dudley, 2014). With the Safe at Home program, using the program monitoring evaluation can help ensure that those who are on the program are getting the services they are intended which therapy, case management, and wraparound supports. The program evaluation will see if those in the program are meeting their target completion dates of treatment. The clients in the Safe at Home program may be in the program anywhere from 6 months to a year in order to complete their goals. The program monitoring evaluation model also assesses if the practices with those involved in the Safe at Home program are showing intended outputs, which in Safe at Home is to stay safely within the home or community (W.K. Kellogg Foundation, n.d.). The program monitoring model also ensures the clients are satisfied and seeing results from the program. The model also helps to identify both strengths and areas of needed improvement of the program. This evaluation model is also beneficial because it helps to inform any adjustments needed to the program or the process of the program (W.K. Kellogg Foundation, n.d.). The model of program monitoring will allow the stakeholders to directly see the impact the program has on the clients served.

Potential Benefits of Program Monitoring

In utilizing program monitoring there are many types of ways that information is gathered from both staff and clients in the program. There may be questionnaires, interviews or client and staff reviews of the program provided (Dudley, 2014). The benefit of the evaluation model is that the program will be intensely looked at from various perspectives. The entire process of the program, Safe at Home, will be looked at to ensure that the appropriate services are being provided and that there are positive outcomes that were intended for the program.

Concerns of Stakeholders and Addressing the Concerns

It is noted that sometimes there are clients who are not willing to participate, as they are court mandate to the program. Lack of participation may cause some concerns for the stakeholders when information is gathered showing possible negative feedback from clients or families receiving services from the program. There are also some families in the program that are lower-economic standings and some that even lack educational backgrounds who may not have access to completing surveys or interviews or may not be able to understand the surveys or interviews. In considering both lack of participation and inability to participate, it would be important to ensure that stakeholders understand the population that the program does work with which is typically lower-economic class or court-mandated clients who may not fully be able to give the feedback on how well or unwell the program is doing. It would also be important that someone is able to even go to the home of the individuals to gather information, rather then expecting them to come to the agency, as many do not have vehicles. Finally, informing of what the information gathering process is about and simplifying it for those who may have trouble understanding, but are willing to participate is important.

References

Dudley, J. R. (2014). Social work evaluation: Enhancing what we do. (2nd ed.) Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

Walker, J. S., & Bruns, E. J. (2006). The wraparound process: Individualized, community-based care for children and adolescents with intensive needs. Community mental health: Challenges for the 21st century, 47-57.

W. K. Kellogg Foundation. (n. d.). W. K. Kellogg foundation evaluation handbook. Retrieved October 8, 2013, from http://www.wkkf.org/knowledge-center/resources/201…

 

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