Evolution of Evaluation in a Human Service Setting: From Low to High Tech and Beyond
Even with the recent focus on utilization, the field of program evaluation still emphasizes technique over concept. This article traces the evolution of' program evaluation at a human service agency, describing each stage of this evaluation function; presenting the context, primary models, and impacts of the internal evaluation activities; and drawing conclusions about why it is important to attend to the broad context of evaluation technologies. The article suggests that only a broader and deeper systems perspective can help us narrow the gap between what we desire from our program evaluation services and what we can actually deliver.
Introducing Internal Evaluation in a Residential Treatment Centre
This article describes a process by which internal evaluation was introduced in a residential treatment centre for adolescents in Quebec. The historical development, purpose, and philosophy of program evaluation at the centre are presented. A unique program for "multiple handicapped youth" collaboratively designed by the centre, a hospital, and a social service agency, as well as the methods of evaluation selected to examine the program's efficiency and effectiveness, are described. Lastly, comments about the process of evaluation and some final results of the evaluation are reported.
A Comprehensive Evaluation Model for Organizational Development
Most organizations implement evaluation studies to determine how to improve a program or to decide if a program should be continued. However, evaluation can be used to help organizations make relevant and valid decisions for the cycle of program planning, development, implementation, and operation. This article describes a "comprehensive evaluation model" used at Sacred Heart Child and Family Centre,' Toronto, Ontario, that provides a framework for understanding the importance of evaluation activities within all program phases. Four sequential evaluation stages are presented as the framework for the Sacred Heart model, and it is argued that consideration of these stages is essential to an adequate assessment of a program's efficiency and effectiveness. The use of the comprehensive evaluation model is illustrated through two case studies: the design and implementation of an automated management information system and an evaluation of a primary prevention program.
The Program Evaluation Model at the Dellcrest Children's Centre
This article focuses on the internal evaluation model that existed at the Dellcrest Children's Centre in Toronto, Ontario, for more than a decade. The model was characterized by a systems approach to organizations in which the organization is seen as an interactive network of systems and functions. Key elements of the Dellcrest approach were: (a) the organization as goal based; (b) evaluation results as an integral part of the organization's feedback system; and (c) evaluation as a management responsibility. A review of 10 years of evaluation research revealed the essential soundness of the model but highlighted certain difficulties in its application.
Internal Evaluation at the Niagara Child Development Centre
The internal evaluation system at the Niagara Child Development Centre is described. Evaluation is viewed as part of the management system, providing information to assist in improving the quality of services. Evaluation is conducted at the case, program, and agency-wide level. Specific examples of evaluation activities are presented.
Internal Evaluation for Decision-Making in a Childrens' Mental Health Centre
This article presents an approach to ongoing internal evaluation in a children's mental health agency. Some examples of evaluation activities that have taken place are given. Program evaluation is integrated into the management functions of the agency and assists managers to plan, implement, and determine the efficiency and effectiveness of programs. The quality of decision-making is enhanced through a systematic approach to program evaluation.
Evaluation as Management Support: The Role of the Evaluator
This article provides an overview of an internal evaluation model in a children's mental health center as well as practical examples of evaluation activities. The overview includes a rationale for the positioning of evaluation within the organization's structure; the primary approaches to evaluation; and the application of three major approaches to evaluation and their operational implications. In summary, internal evaluation is seen to be an integral management support function directed at the planning, development, and assessment of program operations and outcomes.
Internal Evaluation: An Essential Tool for Human Services Organizations
This article briefly defines internal evaluation, its strengths and weaknesses, and the key factors that influence the practice of internal evaluation. This provides a framework for relating the case studies presented in this volume to the reader's own organization.