Program evaluation is “the systematic collection of information about the activities, characteristics, and outcomes of programs to make judgments about the program, improve program effectiveness, and/or inform decisions about future program development.”[1]

As such, conducting program evaluation is important for ensuring effective services and making informed program decisions.  Radius is committed to providing evidence-informed and evidence-based services and programs; we also endeavor to base organization decisions on evidence of our impact.  It is, therefore, important to us that we regularly evaluate the efficacy and impacts of our work and that we utilize this knowledge to better our work.  To this end, we are in the process of developing a methodology for our program evaluation initiatives.

[1] Patton M. Q. (1997). Utilization-focused evaluation: The new century text. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Priorities and Goals

Though we know that client impacts and outcomes are important for evaluating the efficacy of our services, we are also committed to ensuring we provide our services as efficiently and effectively as possible.  It is our goal to conduct program and service evaluations that allow evaluative thinking;[1] therefore, we are committed to conducting evaluations that a) are useful, b) allow informed decisions, c) provide meaningful results, and d) include processes that contribute to service and programming decisions.  Our program evaluation priorities and goals focus on programs and services and will expand and evolve over time.

Radius’ program evaluation initiatives are collaborative; we engage in, what has been termed, evaluative thinking[2] rather than simply program evaluation. We work together, with our clients and partners, to identify the information we need to collect to ensure we learn and improve and we reflect as a team about findings and lessons.

[1] Based on Patton (2008). Utilization-Focused Evaluation, 4th edition.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
[2] Patton, M. Q. (2014). Embedding evaluative thinking in organizational culture.  Otto Bremer Foundation, St. Paul, MN. 

Program Evaluation Projects

Treatment Outcomes for Children & Youth Victims

Date: 2016-ongoing

Abstract/Methodology:  The goal of this evaluation project is to determine the impact of treatment on the functioning of child victims of abuse.  Victims include children who have and have not also engaged in concerning sexual behaviours.  Reliable and valid measures of functioning are administered during an assessment of strengths and treatment needs; the same measures are repeatedly administered at varying time-points during treatment.  Our goal is to determine whether improvements in functioning (e.g., distress, well-being, prosocial behaviour, etc.) are evident over the course of treatment.

Impact of Expressive Arts Based Therapy

Date: 2016 & 2017

Abstract/Methodology:  Radius offers art therapy as one treatment option for victims of abuse and trauma.  Treatment efficacy is important to us and therefore we are currently evaluating the impacts of this methodology.  To date, two art therapy groups have been evaluated and we will continue exploring the outcomes of future art based initiatives.

Outcomes of a Support Group for Parents of Adolescent Offenders

Date: 2017

Abstract/Methodology:  In addition to working with children and adolescents, Radius also provides services to parents and guardians.  We are currently evaluating the impacts of a support and education group for guardians of adolescents who have sexually offended.  We are exploring whether the group increases knowledge, improves any feelings of isolation, and provides strategies to support the adolescent.

Treatment Outcomes for Adolescent Victims

Date: 2016-ongoing

Abstract/Methodology:  Radius provides assessment and treatment services to adolescent victims, some of whom have also been charged with sexual offences.  We are interested in understanding the outcomes of treatment initiatives for all adolescent victims; therefore, we are administering measures of functioning during an assessment of needs and again throughout treatment.  Ultimately, we are investigating whether treatment benefits are demonstrated for issues such as anxiety, depression, and pro-social and aggressive behaviours, amongst other measures of functioning.

Adolescent Offender Group treatment impact

Date: 2017

Abstract/Methodology:  A treatment group for adolescents who have sexually offended is currently ongoing; we are evaluating the impact of this group on factors that may be related to reoffending.  For examples, we are evaluating whether the group increases knowledge of risk factors, helps youth identify unhealthy beliefs, dispels myths, and assists them to recognize their own risks and strengths.

Accountability

We strongly feel our responsibility to current, previous, and future clients and this is the basis of many of our program and service evaluation initiatives.  We are committed to offering our clients the most effective and efficient services and experiences possible.  Having knowledge of our impact and benefits to clients assists us in our development and implementation of programs and services.  Along with assessing Radius’ impacts on client functioning across our services we also endeavour to accurately access information specific to client satisfaction, benefits, and areas for improvement; to collect this information we allow anonymous and provide opportunities for candid and constructive feedback.

Various funders have provided resources to support our services and programs.  We are accountable to our funders, and one way we demonstrate how the funds have been utilize is to provide evidence of the number of children, youth, and families referred to and receiving direct services, treatment impact, and programming efficacy.   We provide each of our funders with regular update reports specific to each of these areas of evaluation.

We value our relationships with the service providers who refer their clients to Radius; we know that community professionals are referring clients to Radius with the understanding that we will provide them with effective programs and services.   To maintain these collaborative relationships, Radius is committed to regularly updating referral sources about our evaluation initiatives and results.

Radius is grateful to provide specialized services in multiple Southern Ontario regions including Toronto, Peel, York Halton and Durham.  We are committed to providing effective services in various regions as well as offering valuable consultation, training, and supports locally, nationally, and internationally.  We are accountable to the various communities we provide direct service and resources to.

FAQs

Why does Radius conduct program evaluation?

Radius conducts program evaluation because we want to ensure that our clients and the community are provided effective and meaningful services.

Will I benefit from Radius’ program evaluation?

Benefits of Radius’ program evaluation initiatives include obtaining information as to what was useful or effective and where we may need to alter aspects of our services.  You will certainly benefit from our evaluation program as you and all our clients will be assured that the services we provide you are known to have positive implications.

What happens if I do not want to be part of program evaluation?

If you prefer not to be involved in projects you may indicate this on the consent form that you sign when you first meet with a Radius team member. Prior to a Radius team member asking you to complete evaluation forms, you will be told that there will be no impact to your services should you choose not to participate.  Therefore, anyone who does not want to complete forms and participate in evaluation may inform a member of their team or simply submit a blank questionnaire. There is absolutely no obligation to participate, though the more participants we receive information from the more accurate our results will reflect Radius’ stakeholder experiences.

Will my name ever be included in a report?

In many cases, names are not required to provide program evaluation related information; where names are known, at no point will they ever be reported.

When do I give consent to be part of program evaluation?

When you first attend Radius, you will be provided an overview of the organization and services; you will also fill out some forms including one that outlines your rights and what you can expect regarding confidential information that all clients provide.  In these documents is a notation that we may use your information for research and program evaluation purposes.  Also, before any information specific to a program evaluation initiative is requested, you will be informed of the purpose of the information and you will agree or disagree to participating either verbally or in writing.

CHILD ABUSE AFFECTS US ALL. TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.