Fall Evaluation Team Update

Greetings from the UC Evaluation Team. We hope that you’ve had and enjoyable and productive summer. We kicked off the season by working with FAST TRAC’s School Based Mental Health (SBMH) Program staff to analyze their “prevention data”. The SBMH Program provided services to 1624 students in the 2012-13 school year of whom 124 were included in the pilot outcomes evaluation. For these 124 students, outcomes related to decreasing problem severity, from the standpoint of the both the student and his or her provider, looked very good. The SBMH Program deserves to be congratulated for their high quality, effective services. Stay tuned for further details in the SBMH Evaluation Brief due out later this fall.

By the end of July, the new data collectors for the National Evaluation had finished their training and began interviewing families. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, we have seen an 18% increase in enrollment in the study since June.  Currently, there are 155 youth enrolled in the National Evaluation.

Another member of our team, Jonathan Sutter, has also seen much success with data collection this summer. He has been working with the FAST TRAC facilitators, team members, youth, and caregivers in implementing tablet technology and electronic surveys to collect Wraparound fidelity data. Jonathan’s enthusiasm and knowledge about tablet technology has been a tremendous asset in this transition to a new and condensed instrument called the WFI-EZ. Thanks to the group’s hard work and persistence, we are currently seeing the highest survey response rates we have ever seen. Pending the acceptance of two conference presentation proposals, we plan to share what we’ve learned with other systems of care at the national level later this year.   

In August, Mike and Rachel attended a national conference on youth in transition in Baltimore with several of FAST TRAC’s Transition to Independence (TIP) staff. The conference highlighted the many challenges and systemic barriers foster care youth face.  The conference also allowed the UC Evaluation Team some time to digest and discuss with the TIP staff the needs and challenges of evaluating programs that serve this population.   The UC Evaluation Team met with the TIP staff, as well as the other FAST TRAC programs, in September to review our evaluation efforts and determine objectives for the upcoming grant year.  More details about the current TIP program evaluation efforts can be found in FAST TRAC’s Summer 2013 Evaluation Brief, which was released September 6, 2013 with quotes and success stories from TIP youth and community partners.

Also in August, the UC Evaluation Team met with FAST TRAC family representatives for our first FAST TRAC Family Coffee Hour.  The meeting was very informative and helped to identify some strategies to facilitate family participation in the quarterly Evaluation Workgroup Meetings. The group will continue to meet quarterly to discuss the evaluation process and products (e.g., Evaluation Briefs) and how to make both more family-friendly.  Our next Family Coffee Hour meeting is October 24th.

More recently, the UC Evaluation Team has been developing an evaluation plan and tools to measure the effectiveness of the cultural competence workshop, “Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts.” In addition to gauging participant satisfaction, our goal is to accurately measure participant knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs related to stereotypes and biases prior to the workshop, immediately after, and three months later. Those who participate in the three-month follow-up will be entered in a raffle for a $20 Panera gift card.

From your UC Evaluation Team, we look forward to an excellent Year 5!