The authors of this report describe their research aimed at assessing the effectiveness of children’s advocacy centers (CACs), focusing on program operations, and providing a more holistic understanding of how CAC operations lead to service outcomes; the researchers specifically focused on a CAC in Nebraska, called Project Harmony.
This paper reports on a study that used a two-phased approach to conduct a formative evaluation and evaluability assessment of Project Harmony’s core services, which are divided into five areas: forensic interviewing; advocacy services; medical evaluations; mental-health care; and multidisciplinary teams. The goal of Phase I, the Formative Evaluation, was to assess the policies procedures, and perceptions of work being done within those five service areas. The goal of Phase II, the Evaluability Assessment, was to determine the evaluation readiness of each service area for an outcome evaluation. The authors had five guiding research questions, the first three applied to Phase I, and the last two applied to Phase II, which asked: how Project Harmony’s core services are being implemented and what the key elements are of each program; what protocols exist and how are they followed to guide service delivery; what tools can be utilized to assess implementation fidelity; what the evaluation readiness is of each core service; and how can the evaluation readiness be improved in order to facilitate a formal outcome evaluation of each core service. The authors discuss their method and analysis for Phases I and II, as well as present an overview of their findings and appendices with supporting documents.
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