QUALITY Week 9 Process Evaluation Discussion

SOCW6311 Week 9 Process Evaluation Discussion Response

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SOCW6311 Week 9 Process Evaluation Discussion

Respond to at least two colleagues’ improvements to the process evaluation report in the Social Work Research Qualitative Groups case study by doing the following:

  • Explain how your colleagues’ reports improved upon that of the case study.
  • Suggest further improvements.

Emily–

A process evaluation is a tool that helps professionals to analyze if program activities have been implemented as intended and determine if these activities can be associated with certain outcomes (Bliss & Emshoff, 2002). In simpler terms, a process evaluation answers the following questions: “what is the program intended to be, what is delivered (in reality), and where are the gaps between program design and delivery”(Bliss & Emshoff, 2002). Overall, it is believed that process evaluations help social worker to determine the fidelity of a program/intervention.

Post a description of the process evaluation that you chose and explain why you selected this example. Describe the stage of program implementation in which the evaluation occurred, the informants, the questions asked, and the results.

The process evaluation that I chose to analyze focused on the collocation of substance abuse services and child protection services. I chose to review this process evaluation because I have experience working with at-risk youth who have come to be in the state’s care due to environmental factors such as substance abuse. I also chose to analyze this process evaluation because it allowed me an opportunity to understand/observe how to research and data are utilized in programming and funding. Lastly, I chose this program evaluation because it also analyzes a cross-system collaboration like the case study. It is believed that this process evaluation occurred at the full implementation stage. The goals of full implementation are to “assure practices are used with high fidelity and are achieving expected outcomes are all initial sites” (Smith,2014). This belief was confirmed because the study indicates that it only surveyed six sites in the study and provided suggestions for future sites that planned on utilizing the collocation model. Furthermore, the study asserted that they conducted the process evaluation between 2004-2005 and that the majority of the programs ended in 2004 (Lee, Esaki, & Greene, 2009).

Collocation refers to “strategies that place multiple services in the same physical space” in efforts to improve outcomes for clients with multiple service needs (Lee, Esaki, & Greene, 2009). In this case, credentialed substance abuse counselors were placed in local child welfare offices to accomplish the following goals: increase the level of substance abuse identification/treatment/engagement and improve child welfare outcomes (Lee, Esaki, & Greene, 2009). The target population of this collocation program was identified to be TANF parents affected by substance abuse and had cases with child protective services (Lee, Esaki, & Greene, 2009). The goal of the process evaluation was to examine the implementation process of the collocation programs and to assess whether program sites varied in implementation success (Lee, Esaki, & Greene, 2009). The authors were specifically interested in examining if the target population was served, whether collocation increased collaboration and understanding between the two entities, whether the program was implemented as intended, and what were the barriers of implementation (Lee, Esaki, & Greene, 2009). Information was gathered from child protective caseworkers, substance abuse counselors, and stakeholders at the state agencies through focus groups and individual interviews (Lee, Esaki, & Greene, 2009).

The results indicated two program variations in metropolitan and rural sites. In both sites, collocated counselors provided substance abuse assessments and referral to treatment services (Lee, Esaki, & Greene, 2009). In rural sites, substance abuse counselors also provided more case management services over longer periods of time. Analysis of the results also indicated a difference in stages of collocated counselor involvement. Some substance abuse counselors were included after the initial call to the child abuse hotline had been replaced, whereas others were included after the initial assessment of by the child protection caseworker(Lee, Esaki, & Greene, 2009). Overall, the results indicated an improved relationship between the two entities, higher rates of parents admitting to substance abuse, and increased child welfare outcomes (Lee, Esaki, & Greene, 2009).

Based upon your comparison of the case study and the program evaluation report that you chose, improve upon the information presented in the case study by identifying gaps in information. Fill in these gaps as if you were the facilitator of the focus group. Clearly identify the purpose of the process evaluation and the questions asked.

As stated before, both the case study and the study reviewed analyzed cross-collaborations that occurred. Cross-system collaborations address the need to form effective partnerships across systems (Cross-System Collaboration in Prevention Services, n.d.). The comparison of the two allowed the writer to identify gaps in the social work case study presented by Plumer, Makris, & Brocksen. Bliss & Emshoff asserts that a program evaluation answers the who, what, where, when, and how of a program (2002). The case study presented by Plumer, Makris, & Brocken did not provide enough detail relating to how of the study. The case study reported that the cross-system collaboration was successful but did not report how or why they believed so. In the process evaluation presented by Lee,Esaki, & Greene, they provided specific details on how they drew the conclusions they did, what methods were utilized to gather information, how the different programs were ran, and why they believed that the results/differences existed (2009). In fact, the authors indicated that they gathered data from stakeholders that included information regarding the “planning and startup of the program, the operations, processes for case identification and referrals, the relationship between the child welfare and substance abuse fields, and administrative procedures and protocols” (Lee, Esaki, & Greene, 2009).

It is believed that the information was written and presented in a manner that a clinician in the field could utilize its finding in their practices. This is important because these components of the process evaluation provide the framework for exploring the different aspects of the program and enables the social workers to assess the delivery process of a program by examining the theories underlying the program and using such to determine how to reach the target population (Boyce & Neale, 2006).But, the information presented in Plummer, Makris, & Brocken’s case study does not allow for the duplicity of this information as it is missing pertinent information regarding important parts of the process. Furthermore, it is not believed that the cross-collaboration addressed the challenges that were presented related to the cross-system collaboration. It is believed that it was important to do so in order to reduce any bias or skewed results. The importance of such was exemplified by the Lee, Esaki, & Greene study. In this study, the researchers chose to analyze 6 of the 7 sites that were originally included in the study (2009). The researchers chose to exclude one site because it adopted a different intervention model of the collocation that was being studied and “was unfavorable to an evaluation” (Lee, Esaki, & Greene, 2009). It is believed that special care was taken to ensure that all results would be able to reflect the intended intervention and outcomes associated with such. It is believed that Plummer, Makris, & Brocken’s failure to report such led to the questioning of the study’s validity and fidelity.

To fill in the gaps associated with Plummer, Makris, & Brocken’s case, I would utilize the process evaluation by Lee, Esaki, & Greene as a guide. The purpose of the new process evaluation would be to evaluate the performance of the organization and determine ways of improving service delivery. I would ask a more specific question related to the barriers they faced and the specific processes that were utilized to encourage a successful cross-collaboration system. Therefore, this information would provide me with the solutions to the barriers that were discussed. I would also ask for input from the social workers regarding these solutions as well. This would be done to encourage the standardization of procedures related to cross-system collaborations and to establish clear expectations throughout the systems. I would also include additional stakeholders like those in leadership and the clients who receive services. I would be sure to include these individuals as to gain more insight related to the programmatic success and how barriers were addressed. Overall, it is believed that these questions and new format will provide the who, what, where, when, and how of the cross-system collaborations and result in improved outcomes in future programming.

Bliss, M. J., & Emshoff, J. G. (2002). Workbook for designing a process evaluation. Retrieved from http://beta.roadsafetyevaluation.com/evaluationgui… (PDF)

Boyce, C., & Neale, P. (2006). Conducting in-depth interviews: A guide for designing and conducting in-depth interviews for evaluation input. Pathfinder International Tool Series: Monitoring and Evaluation – 2. Retrieved from http://www.cpc.unc.edu/measure/training/materials/…

Cross-System collaboration in prevention services. Cross-System Collaboration in Prevention Services – Child Welfare Information Gateway. (n.d.). https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/developing/collaboration/cross-systemcollaboration-in-prevention-services/.

Lee, E., Esaki, N., & Greene, R. (2009). Collocation: Integrating Child Welfare and Substance Abuse Services. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 9(1), 55–70. https://doiorg.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1080/1533…

Smith, J. H. (2014). A Guide to the Implementation Process: Stages, Steps, and Activities. Chapel Hill: ECTA Center.

Candace–

Post a Description of The Process Evaluation That You Chose and Explain Why You Selected This Example

The process evaluation that I chose was linking the intervention to the client’s problems. The purpose of this type of evaluation is meant to determine if interventions used in practice actually address the problems of concern for the client (Dudley, 2020,p. 172). I chose this evaluation because oftentimes practitioners engage in interventions for clients, but these interventions do not always fit the need of the client or link the problem to addressing the cause. This type of evaluation seeks to determine underlying causes that could prevent a problem from being solved (or preventing an intervention from being successful) (Dudley, 2020,p. 173).

Describe the Stage of Program Implementation in Which the Evaluation Occurred, The Informants, The Questions Asked, and the Results

This type of evaluation could be used in linking the problem of substance abuse of women in a halfway house to therapeutic resources, psycho education and determine if certain things are promoting or reducing this in the county/state. The stage of program implementation would consist of determining the causes of the problem and developing logical interventions. A logic model would need to be implemented because “the logic model helps focus the sequence of steps that link implementation of the program back to the client’s unmet needs and forward to the client’s anticipated outcomes or accomplishments” (Dudley, 2020,p. 173). The final implementation would consist of determining key elements of support and deciding on potential interventions and resources that are needed and can be utilized.

The informants would include the women of the halfway house, social workers within the community, the house manager of the halfway house, and count/state epidemiology to provide statistics and results on substance abuse.

The questions asked would be:

  1. What successful evidence-based interventions are currently in place?
  2. What is the wait time for individual or group therapy services?
  3. Where and how often are AA and NA meetings, and are they successful in attendance?
  4. Are substance abuse needs being met or promoted due to the legalization of cannabis in the state?

The information obtained will assist in determining the need for access to services. It will help indicate if the services currently provided are meeting the needs of the client if any underlying needs are not being addressed and if there are specifics that are promoting rather than reducing substance abuse.

Based Upon Your Comparison of the Case Study and The Program Evaluation Report That You Chose, Improve Upon the Information Presented in The Case Study by Identifying Gaps in Information and Filling in These Gaps

The case study utilized a focus group to determine and measure the effects of a specific topic. The goal was to provide information to sponsors (stakeholders) to solicit support. The evaluation I chose focused on meeting the needs of an individual and providing interventions based strictly on those needs. The evaluation was solely focused on the client’s needs vs the needs of the organization. My evaluation as meant to address a problem vs. solicit support or evaluate an organization. The facilitator in the focus group related answers back to the participants and made eye contact with them. This works well in a professional setting of business professionals but would not work well with a population such as substance abusers. The way in which information is obtained and relayed to my population would need a more sensitive approach, and if the approach is not done in the right way, problems are not identified, and therefore linking a problem to an intervention would not be possible.

References

Dudley, J. R. (2020). Social work evaluation: Enhancing what we do (3rd ed.) Oxford University Press

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. (Eds.). (2014b). Social work case studies: Concentration year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader]

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