To know is to plant seeds of improvement.
Our evaluation experts can provide them.
Good evaluation can help your organization and programs know where you are at in making an impact to those you serve, and to make the case for future investment in growing and sustaining the work you do. We create customized evaluation of human service programs that apply appropriate, cutting edge methods such as outcome mapping and developmental designs. These approaches helps to provide rapid-cycle learning structures for project partners.
Our current client projects, supported by the graduate students of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in the PA 5311 Program Evaluation course, include:
Ramsey County Workforce Solutions
While the federal and state governments mandate collection of data on program implementation of social welfare programs, it is often difficult for local governments to assure that this information is useful to the local service providers with whom they work. This project designed a plan for assessing ways that data is communicated between the county and their nonprofit partners, to point to avenues for improvement.
Pope County Human Services
The Director of this rural county was interested in improving the alignment of her organization’s practices with the concepts of person-centered thinking and the state’s human services performance measures. She commissioned the graduate student team to develop staff performance appraisals, guides for supervisors, and a questionnaire to gather information about how these programmatic and management tools were affecting daily practice.
Dakota County Mental Health
While there are a number of evidence-base training models in mental health, local governments might not have the information they need to assess whether or not they are having the desired impact on professionals receiving them. This project designed a comprehensive way of assessing the change in knowledge about risk factors and assessment, and confidence of practitioners in responding to a mental health crisis.
Big Brothers/ Big Sisters
This evaluation design supported the organization’s strategic planning process to provide tools for assessing the short-term outcomes experienced by both mentors (‘Bigs”) and mentees (“Littles”). Using two surveys and providing a structured way to access administrative data from the schools, this project helps to inform the organization about its results.
Gage East is a permanent supportive housing project born out of the partnership between Center City Housing Corp (based in Duluth), Olmsted County Health and Human Services, Gage School (Rochester Public Schools) and other service delivery partners such as Family Services Rochester, Families First of Minnesota, Lutheran Social Services and Fernbrook Family Center among others.
Olmsted County implements a school-based mental health program within its public school system. School-linked mental health is a program model that embeds individual and family therapy within school buildings to serve children and youth.
Financial Access In Reach (FAIR) started as a partnership between a local non-profit Prepare + Prosper and Guaranty Bank. FAIR is designed to help financially underserved households (the unbanked and underbanked) by providing access to a new set of financial products that incorporate transaction, savings, and credit building.
Our past projects, supported by the graduate students of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in the PA 5311 Program Evaluation course, include:
Southwest Health and Human Services:
Adult Mental Health Case Management Program
The Southwest Minnesota Health and Human Services’ Adult Health Case Management Program provides targeted case management services for adults with serious and persistent mental illness and helps coordinate their care and services. In December 2015, SWHHS solicited assistance in developing effective tools to evaluate their Adult Health Case Management Program. Under the guidance of FSI staff, students from the PA5311 course adopted a utilization-focused approach and a formative evaluation design to develop a new survey tool that would help the organization and the program examine their effectiveness in meeting clients’ service needs.
Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency: YouthBuild Program
Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and Community Action Program for northeast Minnesota that oversees the YouthBuild program. YouthBuild provides at-risk youth paid work experience in construction while helping them earn a high school diploma or GED. YouthBuild program staff expressed interest in increasing their understanding of participants’ needs, understanding how the program meets those needs, and developing tools that would allow them to continually assess and improve their program. Under the guidance of FSI staff, students from the PA5311 course adopted a formative evaluation design to provide AEOA with a tool to continually assess and improve the YouthBuild program.