Evaluation of a social work practice
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Published: Tue, 11 Apr 2017
Evaluation of Social Work Practice with Hispanic Children and Families
Example of a practice evaluation
A practice evaluation is a review and evaluation of individual practice within program and how the practice affects the person or recipient of services. Within The Place for Hope and Restoration, is the Raid and Rescue program has service practices for the “outreach workers” is to “raid” the streets to identify possible victims, such as prostitutes, exotic dancers, and/or service workers, such as cooks, busboys, waitresses, and day laborers. The outreach workers provide information about the other programs of the agency, to include how they can provide a safe place to stay, help the victim learn how to be a survivor, provision of advocacy and legal services, etc… and offer “rescue” service, to include transportation to the Safe Harbor program and the other programs within The Place for Hope and Restoration. How these service practice affect the person is essential in identifying the impact to the individual, the staff, the agency and the community. Some areas of practice to be reviewed would include: access, safety, effectiveness of outreach, raid procedures, barriers to the raid and rescue process, along with the needs of the individuals and program. Through the use of data, such as structured record reviews, individual case reviews, surveys or other data, the program practices can be evaluated regarding the efficacy, efficiency, and outcomes. Through evaluation of the practices of the Raid and Rescue program, stakeholders will be able to determine the ongoing needs of the practices, identify program deficits and determine if the practices are meeting the defined outcome measures for the target population and the community. This should assist the overall program in determining the need to continue, modify, or discontinue the practice utilized by the Raid and Rescue program to meet the needs of the stakeholders.
Example of a Program Evaluation
A program evaluation is the systematic review of a “program’s current (and future) interventions, outcomes, and efficiency to aid in case – and program-level decision making in an effort for our profession to become more accountable to stakeholder groups” (Grinnell, Gabor, & Unrau, 2012, p.26). Program evaluations come in a variety of formats, but should include evaluation of the program’s goal(s), mission, program objectives, practice objectives and activities (Grinnell, Gabor, Unrau, 2012, p. 55) to determine if the outcomes and purpose of the program are being met. As noted previously, The Place for Hope and Restoration has multiple departments including outreach, Safe Harbor, fundraising, advocacy and policy, and administrative services. Within each department there are several programs. An example of this is the outreach department has the “Raid and Rescue” and “Community Outreach” programs under it. Each program then has specific goals to meet the needs and requirements of the stakeholders and funding source(s). A program evaluation is focused on the specific program, not the department nor the specific practices, though they are part of the comprehensive program evaluation.
Utilization of the Six-Steps of the Program Evaluation Process
The first of six steps of the evaluation process for a program would include the engagement of stakeholders. To evaluate the Raid and Rescue Program, stakeholders would need to be identified and engaged to provide feedback. This will be accomplished through a variety of formats including public hearings, meeting with community service coalition groups, and the use of standardized survey tools. Both internal and external stakeholders should be involved in this evaluation process. Internal stakeholders would include those involved in the operation of the program. This includes, but is not limited to, funders, board members, administrators, staff and volunteers. External stakeholders would include law enforcement, legal services, community service programs, family members, elected officials, and the community-at-large. The recipients of services are also key stakeholders and need to be involved in the evaluation process, both those who are currently participating in the program, those who have transitioned into other programs of the agency and those who either refused or did not follow through with accessing raid and rescue.
The next step in evaluating the program would be to clearly describe the program. To do this one must identify the expected effects, activities, resources, stage of development, context, and logic model (Grinnell, Gabor, & Unrau, 2012, p. 31). This will be achieved through the review of the agencys strategic plan, the mission statement, funding requirements, and various other agency resources that describe what the purpose and goals of the program. The third step of this program evaluation process is to develop a plan of how the program will be evaluated. For the Raid and Rescue program, the Theory of Change will be utilized to determine if the program is effective and what the practices are effective within the program. This will be completed through a retrospective chart review, client and stakeholder surveys, and stakeholder focus groups. Step four is the gathering and evaluation of data (Grinnell, Gabor, & Unrau, 2012, p. 32). For this program the data from the surveys, chart reviews, and focus groups will be gathered, analyzed to determine strengths and areas of need. Data will be presented as both qualitative and quantitative data, to demonstrate success rate, completion rate and other variables, determined by the stakeholders. Outcomes towards program goals will also be evaluated to determine if Raid and Rescue is reaching victims and if their practices are helping victims. Step five is tied directly into step four of the evaluation process as this is the development of conclusions and making recommendations, based upon the data. To complete this step one must “judge the data against agreed-upon values or standards set by the stakeholders” (Grinnell, Gabor, & Unrau, 2012, p. 33) and present the conclusions in a clear and consise manner. Lastly, there is a need for follow-up regarding the program evaluation in order to ensure the process was meaningful. The results should be disseminated, meetings should take place to review the results with key stakeholders, such as advisory committees, management staff, project teams in order to prioritize any needs and outliers of the program and develop action plans, based upon the identified needs or to continue current practices. The stakeholders should also be provided information regarding the successes of the program through focus groups, reporting results back to coalition groups, and through the use of media, such as newsletter articles, social media formats, program reports to funders, and formal reports to board members.
Grinnell, R. G. (2012). Program Evaluation for Social Workers (Sixth ed.). New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, Inc.
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