Assessing the Field of Post-Adoption Services: Family Needs, Program Models, and Evaluation Issues. Evaluation Issues. 2.3.1 Data Collection Methods


Evaluations of PAS interventions and PAS programs have employed a variety of data collection methods. Choice of method is influenced by several factors, including the type of evaluation, type of PAS offered, type of respondent (e.g., program staff or adoptive family), type of case management system (e.g., paper or computerized), evaluation goals, and level of evaluation funding. For example, an evaluation of a support group for adoptive parents might use focus groups with members of the group. A linked computerized case management system could allow for analysis of aggregate data on child and family characteristics, service usage, and case outcomes entered by caseworkers. If ensuring high quality service delivery is a primary goal, conducting a client satisfaction survey might be an appropriate method. If funding allows, an evaluator could conduct an outcome evaluation using clinical assessments and even a comparison group. Exhibit 2-12 illustrates the data collection methods used for the evaluations described in Sections 2.1 and 2.2.

Exhibit 2-12.
Data Collection Methods Used by Different Types of Evaluations
Data Collection Method Needs Assessments Child and Family Characteristics Services Delivered Client Satisfaction Case Outcomes
Surveys of adoptive parents ü     ü  
Intake/case opening and closing forms   ü     ü
Clinical child and family assessments         ü
Service utilization forms     ü    
Event tracking system   ü ü    
Focus groups with adoptive families       ü ü
Parent feedback forms       ü ü
Interviews with program staff     ü    
Evaluation feedback forms       ü  

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