Prevention and family support programs are increasingly required to report the outcomes of their services to stakeholders and funders, including, for CBCAP programs, the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) via the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART). When programs offer convincing evidence that their work makes important differences, they are more likely to receive continued funding.
We have an obligation to ensure our services are making a positive difference. The obligation requires programs to identify the changes their services are designed it bring about and then to measure the extent to which those changes occurred. There is a further obligation to adjust and improve services based on the data generated by evaluation.
Of equal, perhaps greater, importance is the obligation of people in the field of child abuse and neglect prevention to ensure that their services are making a positive difference. This obligation requires programs to identify the changes their services are designed to bring about and then to measure the extent to which those changes occurred. There is a further obligation to adjust and improve services based on the data generated by evaluation.
The Administration on Children and Families’ Second Edition of the Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation (2010) *identifies these key reasons to evaluate your program:
. . . an evaluation helps you accomplish the following:
- Find out what is and is not working in your program.
- Show your funders and the community what your program does and how it benefits your participants.
- Raise additional money for your program by providing evidence of its effectiveness.
- Improve your staff's work with participants by identifying weaknesses as well as strengths.
- Add to the existing knowledge in the human services field about what does and does not work in your type of program with your kinds of participants. (page 1)
Evaluation requires an investment of leadership, time, energy, effort and funding. But children, families and communities deserve this investment. Evaluation is simply good practice.
It's a requirement
It supports the case for sustainability
It informs service improvement planning
The children, families, and communities we serve deserve it.
Ready to begin planning your evaluation?
* The Second Edition of the Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation (Administration on Children and Families/Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 2010) is a valuable source of information on evaluation. It is highly recommended you download a copy of this Guidebook for more in-depth coverage of the topics covered in this toolkit. Download it at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/research/project/the-program-managers-guide-to-evaluation