Academic journal article International Journal of Child and Adolescent Health

Project P.A.T.H.S. for Adolescents with Greater Psychosocial Needs: Evaluation Based on the Program Implementers

Academic journal article International Journal of Child and Adolescent Health

Project P.A.T.H.S. for Adolescents with Greater Psychosocial Needs: Evaluation Based on the Program Implementers

Article excerpt

Introduction

With financial support from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust (HKJCCT), a positive youth development program entitled "Project P.A.T.H.S. to Adulthood: A Jockey Club Youth Enhancement Scheme" was implemented to promote the holistic development of adolescents in Hong Kong. The Tie 1 Program was designed for all students from Grade 7 to Grade 9, while the Tier 2 program was designed for students with greater psychosocial needs in different life domains, such as academic, personal, interpersonal, or family domains. The Tie 1 Program was implemented in the school context based on curriculum-based programs, with students in each grade receiving 10-20 hours of training in each school year. For the Tier 2 program, school social workers developed the programs with the inclusion of different positive youth development constructs. Generally speaking, the mode of delivery included: a) "adventure-based counseling" (e.g., day camps and wilderness skills training); b) volunteer training and service (e.g., service learning); c) "interestenhancement" (e.g., cooking learning class); and d) work-related program (e.g., life and career development). There are programs incorporating different elements of the above elements.

The Tie 1 Program has yielded overwhelmingly positive outcomes based on different evaluation approaches. To illustrate, Shek and colleagues' (1, 2) studies on eight-waves of data showed that participating students showed a more positive developmental pattern (e.g., slower rate of increase in delinquent behavior and slower rate of decrease in positive youth development attributes) compared with students who did not join the program. Subjective outcome evaluation also showed that the program was well received by students and program implementers (3, 4).

Because of the success of the initial and extension phases of the Project P.A.T.H.S., the communitybased P.A.T.H.S. Project was initiated in 2013 with a three-year cycle. Obviously, whether the communitybased Tier 2 program works is a great concern to different stakeholders. Besides, whether program effectiveness would be affected by the characteristics of participants and modes of delivery are other important questions to be considered. Hence, evaluation plays an important role in understanding the effectiveness of the community-based Tier 2 Program.

Subjective outcome evaluation or client satisfaction approach is used to judge "the extent to which services gratify the client's wants, wishes, or desires for treatment" (5). It is commonly used to assess the program effectiveness as it is economical, efficient and easy to administer. The client satisfaction approach is popular since the views of clients or participants as service recipients were deemed important in judging the program effectiveness. Larsen, Attkisson, Hargreaves and Nguyen (6) argued that "when the client's perspective is not taken into account, the evaluation of services is incomplete and biased toward the provider's or the evaluator's perspective" (p. 197). This approach has been widely used in health care, education, social work and other settings. For instance, in health service, the treatment effect is often assessed using assessment tools such as the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ-8) (7), Youth Client Satisfaction Questionnaire (YCSQ) (8) and the Therapy Attitude Inventory (TAI) (9). Additionally, in education, teaching quality is often evaluated via reports by students, such as Students' Evaluations of Educational Quality Instrument (SEEQ) (10, 11), Instructional Development and Effectiveness Assessment (IDEA) (12) and Student Instructional Report (SIR) (13).

Regarding the Tier 2 Program of Project P.A.T.H.S., many studies have focused on the perceptions of participating students on the program content, program implementers, and program benefits. The data were analyzed at an individual level (14, 15) or a school level (16). Both quantitative (17, 18) and qualitative data (2, 19) collected from the subjective outcome evaluation were analyzed. …

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