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Evaluation of Project LAUNCH
Project LAUNCH seeks to improve health and well-being in communities, service systems, families, and children nationwide, and it is of paramount importance to be able to assess the impacts of the program, and to share lessons learned as a result of implementation. To this end, Project LAUNCH has a three-part evaluation strategy that is intended to provide a comprehensive picture of the performance and outcomes achieved by individual grantees and to measure the impact of the initiative as a whole. The evaluation strategy includes:
- Grantee-specific process and outcome evaluations (reported annually)
- A national multisite evaluation.
Performance Assessment and Evaluation
Project LAUNCH grantees report to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) quarterly on Infrastructure Development, Prevention, and Mental Health Promotion (IPP) indicators. These data are used as one tool for monitoring grantee progress, and for measuring performance of the program as a whole and across the Center for Mental Health Services at SAMHSA. Indicators for Project LAUNCH focus on workforce development, collaborative partnerships, family involvement, prevention and promotion activities, screenings, and referrals.
Grantees can explore a number of questions in their local evaluations:
- What effects are Project LAUNCH supported activities having on policies, practices, and level of coordination at the state, tribal, territory, and/or community levels?
- To what extent has provider knowledge, skills, and practice changed?
- What effects have Project LAUNCH activities had on parent skills, parent–child interaction, family functioning, and behavioral health disparities?
- Grantees submit annual evaluation reports to SAMHSA, as well as a culminating report that tells the story of their collective findings over the course of the grant period.
Project LAUNCH Multi-Site Evaluation (MSE)
The National Opinion Research Council (NORC) at the University of Chicago; the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI); Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago; and the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) have partnered to conduct a multi-site evaluation of Project LAUNCH, with oversight from SAMHSA and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).
The MSE team collects information from Project LAUNCH grantees related to state, tribal, territorial, and community systems development; implementation of evidence-based services in local communities; and outcomes for children and families. The MSE team plans to collect information directly from parents, teachers, school administrators, and local and state key informants in selected Project LAUNCH and comparison sites to examine closely child, family, and systems outcomes.
The MSE addresses two overarching questions that are linked to the goals of Project LAUNCH:
- What is the impact of Project LAUNCH on children and families?
- What is the impact of Project LAUNCH on systems?
The MSE is divided into two parts. In “Part A,” all grantees collect and submit direct-service and systems-level data to SAMHSA using a web-based portal. These data paint a comprehensive picture of services being implemented, as well as systems changes. “Part B” of the multi-site evaluation focuses on a sample of Project LAUNCH grantees and matched comparison sites in a study of outcomes for children, families, and providers. Data for this study will be gathered from parents, teachers, school administrators, and key informants at the community, state, tribal, and territorial levels.
The MSE team also provides evaluation technical assistance to Project LAUNCH grantees throughout the life of their grants. An evaluation specialist is assigned to each grant to facilitate individual and group technical assistance and to support MSE data collection efforts. Technical assistance includes rigorous design and implementation, instrument selection, local data collection, analysis, and dissemination. The evaluation specialists provide technical assistance through e-mails, phone calls, webinars, and site visits. To continuously improve the quality of support, the MSE team measures grantees’ satisfaction with the evaluation-related technical assistance.
Provides information on research design and the process of conducting strong evaluations around access outreach program services.
Hosts a web-based textbook that introduces evaluation concepts and describes the research process. Topics covered include research planning, sampling, instrument selection, construction of new instruments, and data analysis.
Provides information and reports from the multi-site evaluation of Project LAUNCH, focusing on outcomes for children and families living in Project LAUNCH communities and the impact of the initiative on increasing community wellness. Abt Associates originally managed the evaluation starting in FY 2008, which has been overseen by NORC starting in FY 2013.
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