A User-Friendly Approach to Program Evaluation and Effective Community Interventions for Families at Risk of Homelessness

By Mulroy, Elizabeth A.; Lauber, Helenann | Social Work, October 2004 | Go to article overview

A User-Friendly Approach to Program Evaluation and Effective Community Interventions for Families at Risk of Homelessness


Mulroy, Elizabeth A., Lauber, Helenann, Social Work


Practitioners who administer social programs seek usable knowledge from academic researchers that encompasses the critical issues of the times and the problem of hands-on management (Schuman & Abramson, 2000). Practitioners in small nonprofit organizations in particular face a multitude of issues in the implementation of public sector grants and contracts that affect program management and evaluation. Particularly hard hit are prevention programs in local community-based nonprofit organizations that serve very low-income children and families (Weil, 2000).

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how a Family Center's program evaluation--an example of coproduction that used logic modeling as an analytic framework--can help social work practitioners and local community workers evaluate their own programs. A logic model is a one-page "graphic representation of a program that describes the program's essential components and expected accomplishments and conveys the logical relationship between these components and their outcomes" (Conrad, Randolph, Kirby, & Bebout, 1999, p. 18).

As Wolch (1999) contended: "The real burden is on nonprofit agencies suddenly faced with rising demands for services, reduced public funding, and mandates to monitor clients and enforce sanctions including benefit terminations and evictions, on behalf of their partner the state" (p. 28). In the face of these developments, to what extent are program managers in community-based nonprofits capable of responding to local needs? This is a timely question for the evaluation of social work practice. First, at the turn of the 20th century, small community-based nonprofit organizations such as settlement houses historically served poor neighborhoods as mediating institutions to help immigrant newcomers move out of poverty (Jansson, 1994). In the new millennium, immigrant issues are controversial social policy concerns. Today, with privatization generating role shifts of government as funder and nonprofit as provider, we need to know more about how services are configured in low-income neighborhoods and how targeted beneficiaries use such services.

Second, social workers are in positions of responsibility for the development, administration, and evaluation of program initiatives that implement new federal and state social policies intended to reform public welfare, child welfare, and public housing (Mulroy & Lauber, 1999). Many of these programs are small and focus on the coordination of community-based services intended to increase resident and community empowerment. The philanthropic community, also invested in strengthening families and communities, encourages local projects to be comprehensive community initiatives that use collaborations and partnerships to achieve community-building goals (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1997; Leventhal, Brooks-Gunn, & Kamerman, 1997; O'Connor, 1995).

Third, public and philanthropic funders expect program managers to perform these functions in a context of heightened accountability for program efficiency and effectiveness (Forbes, 1998; Schalock, 2001). An important contextual factor is that in the era of privatization most program evaluations have a political context; the research questions may come from federal, state, or local government funding agencies, and findings are intended to provide feedback to legislators to inform their future resource allocation decisions (Bickman & Rog, 1998; Yegidis & Weinbach, 1996). The dilemma faced by many program managers in community-based nonprofit organizations is their lack of training in evaluation research with preferred experimental or quasi-experimental designs and control processes and limited budgets that prevent hiring consultants to carry out the evaluations. Many practitioners seek knowledge from evaluation research that can help them improve their programs, not just respond to the call for externally conducted outcome evaluations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A User-Friendly Approach to Program Evaluation and Effective Community Interventions for Families at Risk of Homelessness
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.