Program Evaluation as Outcomes Monitoring and Outcomes Management

Daniel P. LeClair, Boston University, Metropolitan College

The paper presents research findings for a three-phased evaluation of a community-based addiction recovery program. The evaluation was conducted during the years 1995 to 2002.

The research design included both process and outcomes measurements. Program processes studied included: client assessments, case management, and case follow-up. Program Outcomes measurements were made in three areas of post-treatment adjustment: (1) Evidence of sobriety; (2) evidence of improved change in quality of community adjustment; and (3) evidence of post treatment criminal behavior and reduced conflict with the law.

A unique feature of the research design was its use of ongoing research activities to deliberately impact program processes and outcomes introducing the role of outcomes monitoring and outcomes management as a feature of the treatment process. By periodically reporting on clients' status to treatment staff during the course of treatment, a goal was to have the research evaluation make a positive contribution to the delivery of services and to deliberately effect program outcomes.

The evaluation consisted of three phases, each drawing a separate sample of clients and replicating the same research design with one exception in the Phase II evaluation. For Phases I and III stratified random samples of clients were utilized, whereas in Phase II staff selected the sample following a formal criterion. This paper presents data comparing the findings of each phase to determine whether the research activities did in fact motivate managers and staff to increase productivity and effectiveness, and thus better reach their program goal.

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Updated 05/20/2006