Assessing the Field of Post-Adoption Services: Family Needs, Program Models, and Evaluation Issues. Evaluation Issues. 2.1.3 Services Delivered


The collection of data on service delivery and usage is also fairly common for PAS programs; these data have been used in several PAS evaluations and are also critically important to planning PAS programs and funding. The programs summarized in Exhibit 2-5 demonstrate three approaches to compiling data on services delivered.

Exhibit 2-5.
Examples of Evaluations of Services Delivered
Program Measures Data Collection Method
Adoption Crossroads, Massachusetts
  • Types of services provided
  • Number of contact hours (individual and family) by type, service, and agency
  • Time in hours per contact or activity, including travel
Web-based case management system
Adoption/Guardianship Preservation Program, Illinois
  • Mean number of months cases open
  • Duration of services (months)
  • Mean length and number of hours of services (per case reported)
  • Mean hours of travel time per case by site
  • Types of services and hours of service by case
  • Most frequently used techniques
  • Breakdown of time spent in direct work with family members
  • Reasons for terminations
Case records
Statewide PAS Program, Texas
  • Overall reason for referral/intervention
  • Treatment plan by problem identified that incorporates information on the intervention, person responsible, target date, progress, method of evaluation, and whether goal was achieved
  • Checklist of interventions authorized
  • Discharge summary (why services were terminated and referral to another agency)
Service authorization forms

Data on services delivered may serve as mediating variables in outcome evaluations, establishing the effect of specific types of services or a threshold service level necessary for effect. If used as part of an outcome evaluation, services must be documented as they are delivered rather than summarized at case closing. PAS program records are also unlikely to capture services that a family may have received from private providers or other sources not affiliated with the PAS program, which may influence outcomes (National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, 2002).

These examples demonstrate the range of data collected and data collection strategies for this form of evaluation. The client database used in the Massachusetts Adoption Crossroads program evaluation provided service data on a range of factors related to the delivery and receipt of services. The database is a web-based case management system that can be accessed by any of the program's regional providers and can produce either case-level or aggregate data in a variety of formats. In Illinois, evaluators of the Adoption/Guardianship Preservation Program drew on a range of data from case summary forms completed by workers at the close of services (with family consent). In Texas, regional PAS providers used service plans to record information at intake and case closing. Because the Texas PAS program is based on cost-reimbursement from the state, providers also fill out a service authorization form prior to service provision. Although this level of detail on services provided could be extremely useful for evaluation purposes, the data collected in these forms are currently not aggregated or analyzed at the regional or state level.

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