The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is committed to evaluating its programs and individual grant projects to assess the effectiveness of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation approaches and systems of care. Evaluation is also conducted to ensure accountability for federal funds and to measure results toward SAMHSA’s programmatic and policy objectives. In compliance with the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), SAMHSA is improving performance management and results by identifying annual, long-term and cost-efficiency performance measures to manage its programs.
SAMHSA has an integrated model of evaluation and planning. Strategic planning identifies priorities that drive the development of grant programs and evaluations. The formulation of programmatic and evaluation priorities includes consultation with SAMHSA Center Advisory Councils, with other HHS agencies, and with experts in the fields of evaluation and service delivery. Early and continuous coordination of program planning and evaluation design results in the articulation of program objectives that may be evaluated. Planned evaluations demonstrate the extent to which the grant programs have achieved their objectives, and SAMHSA translates these results into information that can be used for program and policy development. The strategic planning and policy development processes then use these results to refine SAMHSA’s priorities and performance objectives.
The specific type of evaluation required for a grant program is dependent on the type and purpose of the program. To the greatest extent possible, SAMHSA encourages the use of comparable data elements and instruments across its evaluations to implement a comprehensive evaluation system and to minimize respondent burden. Efforts to improve evaluation are continuing and SAMHSA is committed to using systematic approaches in using data to accomplish its mission.