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November 2008Vol. 9, No. 9Helping Program Managers Evaluate Privatized Programs

Privatization initiatives—where case management is contracted to private agencies by State or county offices—have become common in child welfare. But how well do they achieve their goals? A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) focuses on planning and implementing evaluations of these initiatives to shed light on their efficacy.

Evaluating Privatized Child Welfare Programs: A Guide for Program Managers, by Jacqueline Smollar, Ph.D., is the fourth of six papers in a privatization series by ASPE. This paper provides guidance to child welfare agency administrators and program managers on the key features and tasks of program evaluation with privatization initiatives. Highlights include:

  • Developing the conceptual framework (a logic model, questions, measures, a design)
  • Implementing the evaluation (informing stakeholders and staff, establishing the target population and timeframes)
  • Using information from the evaluation
  • Cost evaluations

The author stresses that conducting methodologically sound evaluations is the only way to determine whether privatization initiatives are resulting in desired outcomes for children and families.

To download the full report, visit the ASPE website: (215 - KB)