Summer 2015 Evaluation Update

Summer time and baseball tend to go hand and hand. During the summer months, most folks get to relax a bit but the work for evaluators in the home stretch of a grant tends to be the most crucial part of the game…

We were quite busy this summer finishing up the final pieces of the FAST TRAC evaluation. As we reported in the June newsletter, the Longitudinal Outcome Study staff hit it out of the park by enrolling 269 study participants (well over the 220 goal) and conducting a total of 531 interviews over the course of the study. Jeff Schellinger and his team should be congratulated. Thanks to their efforts, we have an abundance of data with which to determine the lasting effectiveness of the FAST TRAC system of care. Final results were presented in our August 2015 Evaluation Workgroup meeting and will be part of the FAST TRAC Final Report. The richness of these data will also allow us to answer important research questions that will have lasting implications for the children’s behavioral health field.

In June and July, the School-Based Mental Health (SBMH), Transition to Independence Process (TIP), and Peer Support Partner (PSP) programs met individually with the Evaluation Team to tweak the line up a bit. SBMH decided to refine their internal data collection, storage, and reporting system, with much help from Jonathan “the wizard” Sutter. Their new system allows SBMH program managers to have access to real-time data, publish reports instantly, and compare SBMH outcomes with other Child Focus programs. Jonathan also enhanced TIP’s MS Excel file, providing features such as monthly program reports on housing, education, court involvement, and demographics while also producing individual client-level reports. These changes will enable TIP staff to become more independent in managing and reporting their data which will set them up for successful decision-making and more effective programming. The UC Evaluation Team’s work with PSP is ongoing but we are confident that the changes to their instruments and data collection processes (including using tablet technology and housing data within FAST TRAC’s Efforts to Outcomes database) that are underway will result in a more efficient and effective program evaluation system.

In the “final inning” of the FAST TRAC evaluation, we presented overall FAST TRAC findings to the evaluation workgroup members on August 31st. Beginning in September, we will be transitioning all data management responsibilities to the local programs, providing training, technical assistance, and other support as needed. The final FAST TRACker focused on the TIP program will be posted to the FAST TRAC website soon. As always, FAST TRAC Evaluation Briefs describing FAST TRAC’s local and longitudinal evaluation results are available for download at

Best wishes from the UC Evaluation Team.