The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) supported this study in order to build knowledge for researchers and policy makers regarding the evaluability of discharge planning. The specific focus of this study was on discharge planning as a homeless prevention strategy in institutional and custodial settings including: (1) Adult inpatient psychiatric treatment units in state psychiatric, private psychiatric, or general hospitals; (2) Residential treatment centers serving children and youth with serious emotional disturbances and/or substance use disorders; (3) Residential treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders; (4) foster care independent living programs. The project had three goals: (1) To identify key evaluation questions both by setting and across settings; (2) To determine the feasibility of conducting a rigorous and objective evaluation; (3) To develop alternative evaluation designs. The approach included a literature review, the use of an expert panel, documentary analysis of selected exemplary discharge planning programs, site visits to the exemplary programs, the development of logic models related to the programs, and a final report. Study findings indicated that a rigorous outcome evaluation is not justified at this time. However, several alternative study designs to evaluate issues or activities related to discharge planning and homelessness prevention are feasible and are described.
PIC ID: 8187; Agency Sponsor: ASPE-OHSP, Office of Human Services Policy; Federal Contact: Halpern, Peggy, 202-260-0285; Performer: Westat, Inc., Rockville, MD