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Choose a human service agency or program with which you are familiar

Choose a human service agency or program with which you are familiar. It can be the one you have been examining throughout the course or one you wish to examine. Assume that you are either a mid-level manager or an outside consultant and have been asked to do an internal evaluation of the organization to improve client outcomes while reducing costs. In a 4 to 6 page paper:

  • Describe the agency in broad terms including its structure, mission, target audience outcome goals, treatment processes used, size of staff, principle funding sources, and geographic location. This section need not be long, but should be complete enough so that the reader has a fairly clear picture of the organization.
  • Describe your position as you imagine it as either an internal or an external evaluator include such things as who hired you and your own position, feel free to use your imagination. Assess your relative power in the evaluation situation.
  • Identify the information you will need to conduct a thorough evaluation.
  • Identify potential sources of information including representatives of stakeholder groups, written records, opportunities for observation, and any other sources of information that will give you a clear picture of the situation.
  • Identify methods of obtaining needed information from each these sources and give a rationale for using each of these methods. For example note when and why would you use surveys, individual interviews, focus groups, informal interviews for particular groups.
  • Discuss the steps you will use in gathering information. Where will you start the process, how will you proceed and what rationale will you use for your choice? (For instance, some evaluators begin with the person who hired them or assigned them to the task with the idea that the evaluation should answer the questions posed by that person. Other evaluators take a more exploratory approach, talking with all the stakeholders to compare various perspectives. Still others begin with the clientele reasoning that ultimately the success of the agency depends on meeting the needs of those it serves.)
  • Discuss problems you may encounter in the information gathering process. For instance, what parts of the organization are likely to resist the process? How will you overcome their resistance?
  • What ethical dilemmas might you face in conducting such an evaluation.
  • In what specific ways do you want your findings to be used? Discuss how and to whom you will report your results so that your evaluation has a positive effect?

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