Program Evaluation Plan for Children with Substance Abuse

The child care program under evaluation is a collaborative project that is aimed to prevent drug abuse among children in Atlanta. It is a robust program which will help to maintain a healthy environment and protect children by dealing with the menace of substance abuse. The current essay is an evaluation that aims to discern functions of the child protection program through an assessment of its activities, the chosen evaluation model, methods of data collection, and an evaluation of assessment findings. The essay gives justification for an assessment and a strategy for reporting and dissemination of results.

Program Description

The discussed child protection program is an early childhood intervention program that was established as a way of helping reach good development of children in Atlanta. The program mainly aims to assist children of young age, as they grow up and face various challenges in their lives. According to Baker and Charvat (2008), adolescents, especially teenagers, are the most prone to drug abuse and other related vices. It is considered that young people at that age are very susceptible to influence by the environment they are in, which, if not suitable, can be detrimental to their progress and development. In Atlanta, drug abuse is a significant problem that affects many young people and it is widely promoted, especially through music and through other media channels (Budd, Clark, & Connell, 2011). It is considered that drug abuse greatly affects the youth in society, meaning that they are easily swayed by what they experience in their day-to-day lives.

Population Served

The primary population, on whom the child protection program is focused, are young individuals, mostly adolescents, who are willing to experiment with drugs or are already doing it. According to Feller et al. (2009), young people are quite impressionable and are, therefore, very much affected by the issue of drug abuse. The results of drug abuse by these children, who are mostly school kids, include academic degradation, engagement in risky behaviors, such as crimes and unprotected sexual activities, among a number of other social vices (Roesch & Zapf, 2013). The program from its principles and mission can be considered as one that is aimed at reducing effects of drug abuse by the youth, while helping to prevent drug abuse by more young people.

Program Activities

Many of the activities, that child protection program in Atlanta engages in, mostly involve the prevention of drug abuse by adolescents. The program will be involved in progressive activities, such as training, teaching and in public outreach for experts to assist the youths in distinguishing the signs of drug abuse problem. The provided trainings are helpful in educating teachers and parents towards knowing more about drug abuse, so they can find the ways of helping their children, who might be exposed to drug abuse or how to help make their children’s environment free from drug abuse (Flynn et al., 2007). This is especially crucial in the children’s early childhood, when they are most probable to engaging in drug abuse.

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Program Outcomes

The program will develop smaller related programs in schools all over Atlanta, where it will be highly beneficial in the institutions’ drug abuse fighting activities. The program will provide weekly drug abuse education sessions, where children will get to engage with trained professionals, who will, in their turn, provide them with assistance through educative talks and materials that will be helpful to them in understanding the effects of drug abuse and other topics. Children also get the chance to ask questions related to the subject of drug abuse and are provided with useful information that helps to answer their questions. The schools are the main areas of focus for the program, since these are places, where children spend most of their time and also where many of them are exposed to and get to experiment with drugs (Robertson et al., 2004). The program also intends to develop youth advance services to keep children in the community busy and keep them engaged in various activities that will help to keep them away from drug abuse.

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Evaluation Preparation

Selected Evaluation Model

The evaluation model to be applied in the child protection program is the Kirkpatrick’s Model of Learning Evaluation. According to Fetterman and Wandersman (2005), it is a popular model that has been used for several decades, and it inspires users to assess learning on four stages. The first level is ‘reaction’, whereby the trainers check to see learners’ reaction to the information they hear during learning sessions. The reactions can be good indicators of their interest in what is being taught, but not necessarily a confirmation of their understanding or acceptance of the communicated message (Krueger, 2001). The second level is ‘learning’, where the trainers try to find out what the children learned after the training session is over. They can achieve this by the use of assessments that will help to evaluate the learners’ comprehension of the main ideas that were covered in training (Ward & Finkelhor, 2014). The next step of this evaluation model is the ‘behavior’, where the children being trained are observed closely after the training is over to try and find out if the message communicated and the information provided to them was internalized and applied correctly by them (Ward & Finkelhor, 2014). This can be observed in the children’s behaviors, especially of those who seem to be experimenting with drugs. If the training was well received, then the last level will be ‘results’ that will confirm about the level of progress that was made. This last step could be validated by comparing the statistics of numbers before and after training of children, who engage in drug abuse (Britain & Hunt, 2004). The crucial step is to measure at all four stages the evaluation, which will help to know how each phase of the learning strategy was effective (Ward & Finkelhor, 2014). The model evaluation first starts with identification of the problem, which, in this case, is drug abuse among the youths. This is followed by identification of actions that are necessary to mitigate that problem and also the learning that is required to sustain all those activities (Ward & Finkelhor, 2014). After the completion of the previous requirements, the design of the program is established to determine all of the learning processes that are needed for successful and effective training.

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Methods of Data Collection and Analysis

For the evaluation model that was selected to be applied, there has to be collection and analysis of substantial data regarding children, targeted by the program. Census can be useful, as a method of collecting data about Atlanta children population, which can be analyzed to acquire a figure that will help to direct the program’s activities. Alternatively, sample data can be collected to avoid excessive costs that incurred, since a large population was studied. This technique of data gathering will obtain data from a subsection of population, which is often randomly chosen to represent the whole population (Baker & Charvat, 2008). Some secondary information can also be collected from administrative records of Atlanta to support the primary data collected through sampling. Such documents could include health plan enrollment files and medical records from hospitals (Baker & Charvat, 2008). Other data could be obtained directly from respondents through interviewing about their experiences regarding drug abuse.

All of the collected data could be easily analyzed, using various methods of evaluation, such as sample size determination, where the right number of sample is chosen as a representative of the whole Atlanta population, and then studied independently. However, this data analysis method requires some assumptions to come up with useful information that can help in achieving the program’s goals (Baker & Charvat, 2008). Hypothesis testing is also applied to test if the secondary data that was collected is true.

Evaluation Reporting

Reporting and Dissemination

Peer counselors, who have acquired proper training from the program about drug abuse, also help to disseminate information that is crucial to program’s agenda of assisting in eradicating drug abuse among kids in Atlanta. The counselors will go from one school to another, teaching the children about dangers of drug experimentation and abuse with the evaluation findings, as back up information to help them comprehend it better. They will use various resources, such as PowerPoint presentations and even bring some of the respondents who had experienced drugs abuse themselves, so they can talk to the children. These respondents will be essential, considering they are the real-life examples of effects of drug abuse (Flynn et al., 2007). The media will also be useful in disseminating the evaluation of findings, whereby short broadcasting will be used to send the message of drug abuse and the evaluation of findings.

Ethical Considerations

During the evaluation process, some ethical considerations will be made. First of all, the data assembled will be legal and the permission from the participating individuals will be provided. The data will also be kept confidential or anonymous, if requested. The respondents who provide primary data sources will be kept anonymous and their responses will be taken after they consent to the activity and are feeling comfortable enough to respond. There will also be much of the information filtering to make it as child-friendly as possible, taking into consideration that the target audience of the program is children.

Communication to Staff and Stakeholders

For the program to be successful there has to be proper communication among all relevant parties within the program, which ensures that it runs adequately. The stakeholders will be the most crucial members of the program to whom all information regarding the program will be communicated, and confirmation of activities will be acquired before any major moves are made. The stakeholders will be contacted by the leader of the program, who will prepare a report on a regular basis that summarizes the program’s progress over a specified time period. The program’s staff will be updated by the leader of the program, in case there is a need to communicate something important, especially from the stakeholders and regarding plans to be executed in the program. There will be regular communication within the group, especially at each stage of the evaluation phases, where after each phase, the team will get a summary of what was achieved and how the next stage will be approached.

Discuss the key components of a grant proposal based on your topic with emphasis on outcome-focused evaluation. Identify and briefly describe a grant opportunity that would be a good fit for your program.

According to Fetterman and Wandersman (2005), the main components of a grant proposal include the following: Statement of Significance, which is the statement stating the main reason for conducting the project, so that reviewers can understand why the program is essential. Methodology and Outcomes, which finds out why the program evaluation was addressed in the manner it was approached and what are the outcomes to be achieved. Evaluation should be feasible and should outline the methodology that will be used to assess program’s success. Dissemination, which should be associated with the program’s goals and objectives, and describe the communication strategy to be used (Britain & Hunt, 2004). Budget and Continuation Funding, which displays the budget in a form of a table with a brief description of each entry.

For the child protection program, a grant opportunity from the ‘Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities’ program would be beneficial, considering the organization’s goals that align well with the Child Protection Program in Atlanta. The money, if granted, would be used to advance the program and to help to expand its reach beyond the boundaries of Atlanta.

What process would you use (how did you) select and design evaluation instruments for your evaluation plan?

The design evaluation instruments for the evaluation plan were chosen based on the resources available in program’s reserves and the target population of Atlanta, which is significant. The evaluation required instruments that would efficiently, yet effectively, capture the required information and present it in the best way possible to help to advance the program’s impact.

Conclusion

It is evident that drug abuse is a major issue in the city of Atlanta and primarily among the youths. The child protection program evaluation has revealed a way to find out how the Child Protection Program will help its target population in Atlanta. It has shown the most crucial tools required for the process and the way they will be used to achieve the desired objectives. All these procedures are directed at solving the problem of drug abuse among children in Atlanta. 

 

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