Measuring Service Effectiveness for Families
Boutté-Queen, Needha McNeil
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While most professionals do not dispute the fact that evaluation is necessary to determine whether agencies and practitioners are truly providing services that meet clients’ needs, information regarding consistent measures on service effectiveness in human service organizations is sparse. A national survey of 250 not-for-profit family service organizations in the United States (52.8% return rate) yielded results relevant to client identified needs and agency effectiveness measures in serving today’s families. On an open-ended survey item, 52.3% agencies indicated that poverty represented the most pressing problem among today’s families because other psychological needs also take priority. Over two thirds of these agencies used multiple methods to evaluate their services. Clients’ feedback and outcome measures are the most popular methods. The findings reveal agencies' difficulties in determining what or who decides if the most appropriate services are being provided for the target population. Limited data collected on outcomes and impact may impose additional difficulties in program design and planning.