The Evaluation of Abstinence Education Programs Funded Under Title V Section 510: Interim Report . Implementation and Process Evaluation

04/01/2002

The implementation and process analysis documents the experience of organizations and communities applying for and receiving abstinence education funding in both the targeted and community-wide program sites.  It describes the abstinence interventions implemented — the program goals, the underlying theoretical framework, and the specific curriculum elements covered by the program.  It examines the target population and community context, and reports the participants’ experiences with the program.  It also details the organizational structure of the abstinence education program models, identifying those models that have been used and the factors associated with successful implementation.

The implementation and process analysis uses three primary data sources:  (1) review of program documents and records; (2) interviews and focus groups with program staff, school staff, community leaders, parents, and program participants; and (3) on-site program observations.  Program documents and records provide important background information on the program’s objectives and message, as well as data on youth served.  Most programs selected for the evaluation have promotional materials that are distributed to youth and, in some cases, to the community at large.  Some have web sites or use the media to deliver the abstinence message and to identify community resources available for youth.  Program documents also often describe staff qualifications and background, present staff training materials, and include written communications among abstinence providers.  Program records provide valuable information on youth served, resource requirements, and costs.

Interviews with program and school staff also convey important information on program goals and implementation, as well as on the more intangible aspects of commitment to the program message and the importance of helping youth.  Interviews and focus groups with program participants provide insights into the experiences of youth, their perceptions of the program, and the intangible factors that lead to program success.  Focus groups with parents yield additional insights on the needs of youth and how programs can best engage parents in helping their children make good choices.  Finally, firsthand program observations are invaluable for assessing how the program messages and services are delivered and received.

The data collection efforts to support the implementation and process analysis were extensive.  Evaluation team members made multiple rounds of site visits to all programs included in the evaluation, as well as to many others ultimately not included in it.  During these site visits, the evaluators conducted executive interviews with numerous staff members, facilitated the focus groups, and observed program delivery.  In addition, phone calls and ongoing review of program records provided further detail on program implementation.  Finally, an extensive communications effort and outreach to constituent groups and policy organizations yielded rich information on the context of abstinence funding and the types of programs supported.