By Lori Howell, April 24 2013
The Vera Institute of Justice recently released a handbook to help a wide range of social service practitioners, in juvenile justice and beyond. The new document, "Measuring Success: A Guide to Becoming an Evidence-Based Practice," breaks the process into three steps and offers an easy-to-follow methodology to measuring performance.
Vera offers guidance in determining who qualifies as evidence-based, which can be helpful for funding. Vera's announcement continues:
Demonstrating that a program accomplishes its stated goals is increasingly important for social service organizations—funders and clients want to see the evidence of successful outcomes. Although a full-scale evaluation can be a costly and overwhelming goal, adopting the information-gathering and self-reflective approaches that lead up to an evaluation can in themselves strengthen an agency’s focus and procedural fidelity.
Vera has worked with juvenile justice system service providers in many settings as they build and monitor their programs. It produced this handbook on the basis of experience in the field, and in collaboration with the Institute for Public Health and Justice at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.
While the guide grew out of requests from juvenile justice service providers for a roadmap toward becoming an evidence-based practice, its recommendations have applications beyond juvenile justice. “We believe the systematic approach to collecting information on goals, treatment methods, and outcomes can benefit other social service providers seeking to measure the efficacy of their interventions,” said Annie Salsich, director of Vera’s Center on Youth Justice.
The complete guide is available as a free download on Vera's website.
Lori Howell regularly contributes articles about juvenile justice reform and adolescent substance abuse treatment to ReclaimingFutures.org. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in French from Seattle University. Lori works as a senior account director at Prichard Communications.
Updated: February 08 2018