Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 2.7 Maintaining Study Integrity


It was through the site coordinator activities that many aspects of the study integrity were controlled. This was accomplished in a variety of ways. The site coordinators served as the points of contact between the home office and agency liaisons. They monitored performance by the participating agencies, alerted the home office to problems, and became actively involved in resolving problems as they arose.

The site coordinator was responsible for tracking down needed information to complete interviews (e.g., addresses, caseworker names). Additionally, the SC monitored the status of individual cases to report changes in service end dates, or to identify and seek explanations for cases in which the assignment to regular or experimental services appeared to have been violated. These included cases that should have been but were not referred to random assignment, cases that were randomly assigned but did not get referred to the appropriate service provider, and cases that were not eligible for the study, but were receiving family preservation services. This was accomplished by comparing results of random assignment to agency logs on a monthly basis. State and local personnel were provided monthly reports delineating the cases assigned, their status, and problem areas.

The site coordinator also had a weekly meeting with the public agency screeners and private agency liaisons to review concerns and problems. By keeping in touch with caseworkers and persons in critical positions to the project, the SC was able to gather information about changes in policies, procedures, and staff so that necessary changes could be made. In both Kentucky and Tennessee, there was one site coordinator for one site, while in New Jersey, two site coordinators traveled across seven counties. Having only one site allowed the Kentucky/Tennessee site coordinators to provide better oversight of study activities.

A detailed description of study procedures, including forms and materials, will be available upon completion of the study. The remaining chapters of this report present an overview of the implementation of the study in Kentucky (Chapter 3), New Jersey (Chapter 4), and Tennessee (Chapter 5); a description of the families served in all three sites (Chapter 6); the services received (Chapter 7); preliminary outcomes (Chapter 8); and conclusions (Chapter 9).