Evaluation Update & Brief

The UC Evaluation team is looking forward to what spring will bring.  Over the past few months, FAST TRAC program staff and UC have been focusing on partnering more effectively in order to bolster recruitment and retention of participants in the National Evaluation, as well as to streamline data collection at the local level. This is our last year to recruit families for the National Evaluation and the more participants we have in the study the greater our ability to measure FAST TRAC’s effectiveness. Thanks to FAST TRAC program staff (and, of course, to the families and youth participating in the National Evaluation) for your efforts!

Although winter is usually a time for hibernation, the Local Evaluation has stayed very active and even proactive. We released our first “Evaluation Brief” focused on the Wraparound program in January.  We conducted the first in a series of focus groups to assess the impact of the Peer Support Partner program. We reengaged the Transition to Independence Program (TIP) and School-Based Mental Health Services programs to ensure quality data collection practices for the forthcoming Evaluation Briefs.  Look for our next Evaluation Brief, focused on the Peer Support Partner program, in April 2013. Generally speaking, families receiving Peer Support Partner services are highly satisfied with the program and feel empowered.  However, the connections families have made with one another through the program, and the hope that this has given them, may be the program’s most powerful impact.  

Mike, the Lead Evaluator, and Jeff, the Research Assistant, attended the 26th Annual Children’s Mental Health Research & Policy Conference in Tampa, FL.  Besides bringing back some much needed sunshine, they were able to make connections with other communities and evaluators and plan to share lessons learned in upcoming evaluation workgroup meetings.  Conference highlights included strategies for systems change in child welfare, technology-based prevention programs, and cost effective program implementation for addressing the needs of youth.