How Evaluation Works in FAST TRAC

By: Mike McCarthy, UC Evaluator

It is important to evaluate the services that children, youth, and families involved with Clermont FAST TRAC receive.  FAST TRAC strives to provide high quality, effective, and cost efficient services to families who are raising a youth with mental health challenges and who are involved with multiple systems (Mental Health and Juvenile Court, Children’s Services, or Developmental Disabilities).  Services need to be evaluated to determine if they work; in other words, do they make a difference. 

The evaluation workgroup oversees the evaluation component of FAST TRAC programs.  The workgroup advises, assists, guides and helps understand the results of data collected on the programs serving FAST TRAC families and youth.  The evaluation workgroup consists of family members, youth, FAST TRAC staff, the University of Cincinnati Evaluation Team, and professionals who manage, lead and provide direct services through FAST TRAC (i.e. TIP, respite). 

All evaluation research results and reports are presented to the workgroup.  The evaluation team presents the findings from various FAST TRAC programs to the workgroup.  The results are discussed, and with the input of the families, youth and professionals, meaning is made out of the findings. The evaluation workgroup reviews the instruments that measure change; they look at the results and suggest ways to further understand them. Recently, the workgroup reviewed 3 different questionnaires that measure family stability and chose the one they thought best captured how they defined family stability.  After reviewing the results of an evaluation of respite, the workgroup suggested we do face-to-face interviews and ask parents who use respite why they keep coming back and that we ask families who sign up and do not use respite, why they do not attend.

For more information on the Evaluation Workgroup, call 732-5400.