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Program Evaluation: A Synthesis of Lessons Learned by Child Neglect Demonstration Projects
In 1996 and 1997, the Children's Bureau funded 10 demonstration projects to address the prevention, intervention, and treatment needs of neglected children and their families. These projects implemented and evaluated a wide variety of service strategies with large numbers of high-risk children and families. The programs varied considerably in terms of theoretical model (psychosocial or ecological), target population, location (in-home or out-of-home), duration, and intensity. The projects provided a great variety of services, including parent education and support, home visits, and referrals to other resources or services in the community. (For information about the programmatic aspects of these projects, see the companion synthesis, Child Neglect Demonstration Projects: A Synthesis of Lessons Learned, published by the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information.) Throughout the course of their 5-year projects, grantees faced a number of common challenges in combining service delivery with a rigorous program evaluation methodology. Despite these challenges, several of the programs conducted very thorough evaluations, and they all reported positive outcomes. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the evaluation of social service programs. Funders and other stakeholders want evidence that programs are achieving their intended outcomes. Practitioners want to develop more effective services by documenting interventions and measuring results, and they want to establish stronger connections between services and outcomes. Therefore, this program evaluation synthesis summarizes the grantees' challenges, strategies, and lessons learned regarding program evaluation, so that these lessons may help future projects develop and implement effective evaluation plans. While some of the lessons learned will be most useful to other programs addressing child neglect, many are applicable to a broader range of social service programs. Contact information
Table of Contents
Challenges and Successful Strategies for Evaluation Design and Methodology
Lessons Learned for Evaluation Management
Appendix A: Children’s Bureau Child Neglect Demonstration Projects
Appendix B: Project Evaluation Information
Appendix C: References for Evaluation Tools and Instruments
Appendix D: Sample Logic Model
Acknowledgment(s): This synthesis was made possible by the Children's Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The conclusions discussed here are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not represent the official views or policies of the funding agency. Publication does not in any way constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Suggested Citation: Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2005). Program evaluation: A synthesis of lessons learned by child neglect demonstration projects. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.
This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway.