Discuss how you will measure client progress. For example, you might say that you will interview clients with depression before the program starts, as well as immediately after they complete the program.
There is a number of instruments for assessing home environment, condition of the child and family members. The major instruments for this study are: Mental Status Examination for children, Achenbach Child Behaviour Checklist, Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME) Scale, and its specialized variant NLSY-CS HOME scale (Helfer & Kempe & Krugman, 1999), adjusted for different stages of child development; Parenting Skills Assessment Questionnaire TIPS (Tools for Improving Parenting Skills) for parents/caregivers (Helfer & Kempe & Krugman, 1999) and Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) for adult members of the family. Medical assessments will be applied if it is necessary.
The results will be integrated into a global evaluation rate with weighted scored assigned to the results of each particular assessment. Initial assessment will indicate the areas where problems are experienced; however, all assessments should be repeated every 2 months during the 1 year of supposed longitudinal study. The results of the assessment and the integral “mark” of the family will be tracked and progress of each treatment will be individually evaluated. The evaluation of CPS as a human service program will be made basing on the level of improvements taking place within the chosen families during the year, and the ability of the service to address initial objectives.
Determine any threats to validity.
There are several validity threats in this evaluation which are quite difficult to eliminate. First of all, there is the threat of maturity (Depanfilis, 1992) – the process of child’s development and changes taking place in the course of time might impact the results rather than the effect of the intervention. Secondly, children in the families might be at different stages of developments and therefore comparing the results in different families might be not valid.
Moreover, the “history” threat is possible for the study: since it’s a longitudinal study, external events and environment may affect outcomes, and it will be difficult to single out the effect of the program itself. Finally, the errors of selection might also take place. Since the families receiving CPS services often belong to certain “risk groups” (Depanfilis, 1992), it might happen that selection of families is not truly randomized. However, the focus of this evaluation should be on comparing individual progress of every family, and developing a customized progress scale. In this way major effects of the above-mentioned validity threats can be reduced.
Discuss how you would use data from the evaluation to inform your practice.
It can be appropriate to discuss the results of the evaluation with the coordinators of social service programs and local institutions dealing with social services. CPS is not the only organization involved in protection of child welfare, and the efforts of all organizations should be combined. Also, the evaluation can be filed to appropriate SPC agencies, and published in the local community, so that future evaluators could use this information. The institutions dealing with distribution of funds should also be informed of this evaluation, since they could perform optimal allocation of resources basing on this evaluation.
In this evaluation, I have learned to identify the objective of CPS activities, their scope of responsibility and supposed actions. I have reviewed a number of tests and surveys allowing to assess physical and emotional state of the child as well as the state of family relations and parenting skills. In this evaluation, I have considered all the stakeholders responsible for the welfare of a child, and learned how to track the progress of family relationships. This evaluation study can benefit both CPS workers, caregivers and other members of the community since it assesses not only the relations within the family, but the ability of the society to help individuals in improving welfare of children.
Depanfilis, D. (1992). Child Protective Services: A Guide for Caseworkers. DIANE Publishing.
Helfer, M.E. & Kempe, R.S. & Krugman, R.D. (1999). The Battered Child. University of Chicago Press.
York, R.O. (2008). Evaluating Human Services: A Practical Approach for the Human Service Professional. Allyn & Bacon, Incorporated.