Successes and Outcomes
How do we know we’re making a difference at Youth Services? Are youth and families meeting their goals? What is changing? Are we successful in our work? How do we measure and track the outcomes of our programs and other interventions with clients?
- Case Management Outcomes
- Big Brothers Big Sisters Outcomes
- Restorative Justice Outcomes
- Article on our work with homeless youth
Why measure outcomes? Knowing in concrete terms whether Youth Services and its clients are meeting their goals is important because:
Youth Services clients have a more accurate and reliable picture of what has been achieved by a particular service. This allows them to make better judgments about the value of the service and also make better choices about services.
Practitioners at Youth Services are better able to monitor and reflect on our work because we have measures of what has been achieved.
Youth Services’ stakeholders include potential and actual clients, volunteers, staff, partners, donors, policy makers, and government bodies. No two of these constituencies have the same expectations so Youth Services makes itself accountable to stakeholders according to the unique expectations of each group, and always consistently with our values and strategy.
Accountability to stakeholders measures actual performance against predetermined goals. It does not simply describe what we have achieved in the past 38 years, but requires commitment to achievements in advance. Our outcomes show stakeholders that the organization is fulfilling its goals and enacting its values and delivering on what we promise.
As an agency that wants to continuously improve the quality of our services, we have information about the effectiveness of the services we provide. The information is used to monitor the effects of improvements to service processes.
Youth Services is able to see the relative effectiveness of the different kinds of programs we are offering. For example, is family work in home more or less effective that group work? Under what circumstances?
Youth Services has the evidence necessary to:
- Develop standards of practice based on what standards actually get better results for clients.
- Develop suggested tools and databases for services
- Participate in policy discussions and debates with evidence about the costs and benefits of services
To measure outcomes in Youth Services we:
- Agree on the specific outcomes to be achieved.
- Develop valid and reliable measurement tools for these outcomes.
- Use the tools to measure change in clients over time (including collecting and analyzing the data).
- Show a cause and effect connection between the service provision and the outcomes.
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“My daughter was just thrilled about her first meeting with her Big Sister. She came home with her BBBS sticker plastered across her chest and telling us all very loudly how great it was.”
–Mom of a 1st grader
Green Street School, Brattleboro
“When a young person begins to run into trouble, Youth Services connects them with the appropriate resources, ranging from their family members to school programs and other community resources that will help get them back on track.”