In 1975, the U.S. government passed legislation, known as the Special Health Revenue Sharing Act, which affected all community mental health centers that received federal funding. This bill required that an annual program evaluation be conducted at an expense of no more than two percent of the operating budget. It also required quality assurance specifications for services and specific criteria for use, accessibility, and effectiveness. Finally, it mandated that results be made available publicly (S. Res. 246, 1975). Legislation such as this has driven the development of many processes and tools for program evaluation in behavioral health. Regardless of your role in the field, you are likely to be a part of program evaluation efforts, whether they are driven by external or internal forces. At their core, they all have the same purpose: to adhere to the social responsibility of providing the best services possible to clients and communities.
Your Final Project for this course is a comprehensive evaluation plan for either the Substance Abuse or Elder Care Program for the Harbor City Behavioral Health Center (HCBHC). An evaluation plan outlines what you intend to monitor or measure and how, along with a plan on how your results will improve the program itself or decision making regarding it.
Develop an 8- to 10-page comprehensive evaluation plan for the HCBHC Substance Abuse or Elder Care Program. The plan should describe how you will collect data about the program and the individuals responsible for collecting each piece of data. In the plan, respond to the following:
Describe data collection methods based on outcome needs you are trying to achieve.
When conducting your evaluation, describe how you will engage the involved staff and stakeholders. Failure to convey the importance of each individual’s contribution may result in decreased staff buy-in and less accurate assessments overall.
Describe how you will conduct regular needs assessments to ensure that you meet the needs of your priority population.
Explain how you will regularly collect data on your target population to advocate for the need for and/or effectiveness of your program. If you do not have sufficient resources to collect these types of data, look for publicly available data sources (e.g., census data, local health data, employment data).
Explain how you will routinely assess how program implementation is going and use the results to ensure the ongoing quality, fidelity, and reach of your program’s policies and initiatives.
Evaluate how you will collect and share relevant data among program staff and partners at the local, county, state, or national level. This includes reporting measurable outcomes and demonstrating the value of your program to political decision makers and funders.
Include how you will establish regular meetings to review evaluation data and develop a plan for making necessary program changes.