During the second phase of YARH, Chapin Hall conducted a comprehensive formative evaluation of YTP and managed a robust CQI process. The formative evaluation conducted by Chapin Hall addressed questions about implementation, fidelity to the YTP model, program engagement, and participants’ short-term outcomes. Research questions included:
- Does the administrative risk assessment process correctly identify members of the target population?
- Are enrollment staff able to connect with and enroll youth?
- Is the intensive case management component of the intervention being delivered as intended?
- Is DBT being delivered to program participants as intended?
- Is there evidence that program participants are progressing toward short- and medium-term outcomes?
Methods: In the formative evaluation, Chapin Hall focused on 469 14- to 20-year-olds in Alameda County who were potentially eligible for YTP between February 2016 and April 2019; this sample included 98 youth who actively engaged in YTP. The evaluation team used enrollment data, which tracked potentially-eligible youth and their progression through the recruitment process; YTP program data, which provided information about youth assessments, action plans, goals, and services received; county child welfare administrative data; and qualitative data collected via and interviews and focus groups with YTP coaches, administrators, child welfare workers, and youth.
During this presentation, the evaluator will provide an overview of the YTP intervention, a summary of the formative evaluation research design, and a series of usability tests used to refine the model intervention, supported by the use of the CQI process. In addition, the presentation will cover a review of fidelity and outcome measures reported - highlighting findings related to model fidelity, DBT skill attainment, and improvements in several short-term outcomes.
Results: The structure and timing of the YARH grant program allowed for time and flexibility to conduct usability tests and improve the program implementation – particularly in the areas of program enrollment and DBT attendance. Additionally, the formative evaluation found that participating youth experienced significant changes in the areas of employment, financial literacy, and permanent connections as well as significant gains in their acquisition and use of DBT coping skills.
Conclusions and implications: The presenter will discuss how the formative evaluation process was essential to YTP’s development and will demonstrate how program improvements made possible by the YARH grant structure were implemented by relying on the evidence produced as a result of the CQI process, consulting the research related to youth engagement, and the ability to process and use that information through a strong partnership between program and evaluation staff.