Armed with a multi-year grant from The Duke Endowment, three organizations in early 2007 set out to find a way to measure effectiveness at residential children’s homes in
Phase I ended in 2009. The project focused on developing a set of core outcomes and implementing a standardized protocol for collecting data from children being served. It also examined how this data could be used to help agencies identify client needs and improve services.
The partners – the UNC Charlotte Institute for Social Capital, the S.C. Association of Children’s Homes and Family Services, and the Children and Family Service Association-North Carolina – say the project represents “one of only a few successful efforts to engage providers in scientifically sound research aimed at examining child-level outcomes for residential treatment centers.”
A report on Phase I has just been released. At regional meetings in March, the authors discussed the document with participating agencies.
Staffers at Alexander Youth Network in
“It has been gratifying to work with people who are paving the way for future research,” says Emily Bridgers, Alexander’s outcomes manager.
Jennifer Greene, the agency’s vice president for performance improvement, agrees. “We’re excited about the potential to move the mental health field forward to evidence-based practice protocols with proven outcomes. The ultimate goal is to help the children we serve to live happy, healthy and productive lives.”
A 2009 grant from the Endowment launched the project’s second phase.