Sample Essay on Evaluation of Human Services Program

Evaluation of Human Services program

Description of the practice setting

Developmental disabilities services program under the State of California Department of Developmental Services is the human services program selected for evaluation. The services provided under this program target residents of California with developmental abilities such as include cerebral palsy, epilepsy and intellectual disability (State of California. Department of Developmental Services, 2015).

The persons eligible for these services are those with a disabilities beginning before a person reaches the age of eighteen years, toddlers and infants between the age of 0 to 36 months and individuals with a risk of bearing a child with developmental disability. Programs under developmental disabilities services include support services programs such work service programs, education services and respite care services. There are also living arrangements programs like affordable housing and foster home Agency or supported living services (DDS, 2015)

Objectives of the human service program

The program main objectives include designing and coordinating a wide range of services offered to the individuals with developmental disabilities. This is done with the assistance of developmental centers operated by the state, community facilities and regional centers that assist in planning, accessing, coordinating and monitoring the various services and supports. They provide early intervention measures that are appropriate and family support services for the young children from the time of birth to the age of three years (DDS, 2015).

The programs are successful because they employ a person centered planning approach to help in making decisions concerning where these persons shall live and specific services or support they require. In this kind of planning, those accessing the regional centers services are provided with a planning team comprising of the person in need of the services, members of the family, staff from the center and any other person present at the request of the individual. The team then works together to ensure services provided to these people meet their desires (DDS, 2015).

Innovative change that can make to the program to benefit the overall success rate of the program

To ensure the overall success of the program, innovations are required in the area of assessing individuals’ eligibility and for team assessing and evaluating infants and toddlers for the possibility of risk. The program in partnership with other health care providers should maintain health records using specialized software which can be able to detect individuals or young children who are at a risk of developmental disabilities. They should also reach out to parents and individuals to access services by raising awareness through different social media platforms.

 Research design that would be helpful to evaluate the effectiveness of this program

To evaluate the program, qualitative research method is appropriate since it can help in obtaining descriptive information. It would be necessary in providing a description of the program situation thoroughly and providing explanations about the program. In this case in-depth interviews are used to collect information from the respondents (Mack et al., 2005).

The interviews are conducted on a selected sample from different groups of people involved in the program who include services coordinators, community leaders, and specialists in early intervention, parents and persons with the developmental disabilities. This research design is appropriate since it will be possible to capture the experiences of all the respondents which are all unique, subjective and provide the reality of the programs. It will also give an insight into each respondent’s evaluation of the program; provide precise and specific answers as well as knowledge on the program that is exhaustive and varied (Mack et al., 2005).

Determining the study sample

To evaluate the program progress a sample will be selected randomly which when  correctly implemented ensure that the  participants from the different participants forming the team of service providers do not differ in any systematic way and. Random selection will also assist in ensuring the results obtained from the study groups will be unbiased (Mack et al., 2005).

Ethical considerations with regard to the participants

During the evaluation of the program the ethical considerations that should be made concerning the participants generally involve minimizing the risks and maximizing the benefits that may arise from the evaluation. Considerations include ensuring informed consent such that those participating in the evaluation should willingly do so, hence participants can withdraw from the project any time and adequate information should be provided about the evaluation before its commencement (Alderson & Morrow, 2004).

All information obtained from participants should also be kept confidential by privately conducting the interviews and keeping the completed interviews in secured location as well avoiding discussing of information about the participants with other individuals. The safety of those participating in the process should also be considered (Alderson & Morrow, 2004).

Measurement scales used to measure clients progress

There are two measurement scales can be utilized for the research design selected. There is the nominal and ordinal measurement scales whereby the nominal measurement scale is a type of scale used in categories that are exhaustive and mutually exclusive. In this scale, measurement of the program can take only one value out of the options given. Each observation made must also fall into one of the provided categories. Therefore, in this case, measurement of the program progress can have two possibilities, either poor or good and the participants of the evaluation process can use the two categories to indicate the progress of the project. These states of nominal measurement scale can be arbitrary assigned numerical values like 1 for good and 0 for poor (Leko, 2014).

Ordinal measurement scale can also be appropriate for the selected research design; in this case numerical values assigned to each of the categories have relevance in a ranking system. This means that unlike in the nominal case, by assigning the value 1 to good and 0 to poor implies the if the more participants choose the category good the higher the progress of the program but if more of them select 0, the program progress is low (Leko, 2014).

Threats to validity related to the research design

The threats that can be related to the research design can be classified under internal validity and external validity. Under internal validity, the research design brings out the possibility of loss of information or the participants. This is because too little information may be collected from the participants due to time limitation or some of them may drop out during the evaluation process, this will therefore result to unreliability of the final results on the evaluation (Leko, 2014).

It may also bring about some undesirable effects on the participants involved; where by the mere fact that they are selected for the evaluation may affect their altitude or behavior during the interview resulting to then providing information which is unreliable. There may be bias during the process of selecting the participants such that the information gathered is not valid for evaluation of the program. Threats to external validity for this research design concerns the ability to use the results obtained during the research to evaluate a group of people being served by the same program in different regions in the state of California. The results may specifically apply to certain regions only and not all of them (Leko, 2014).

Use of data from the evaluation to inform the program

Data obtained from the evaluation can be used to find out the gap being left by the services being provided to the persons with developmental disabilities and then come up with recommendations on how to fill those gaps. It would also help in finding out whether the clients are satisfied with all the services provided and if not ask for ideas from them. Finally the data can be used in coming up with more innovative ways of handling problems regarding developmental disabilities such as eligibility assessments and finding preventive measures for the disabilities.


The lesson learnt from this evaluation is that there are a wide range of services offered by different human services programs all over the United States. Each of the programs offers services targeting a particular group of people who require support and social services. Different research designs can be used to evaluate these programs to determine their effectiveness to the clients. There are a lot of considerations that should be put in place when evaluating the programs such as type of research design, ethical consideration among others. Results obtained from an evaluation can be used to improve the effectiveness of the project.




Alderson, P. & Morrow, V. (2004). Ethics, social research and consulting with children and young people. Barnardo’s.

Leko, M. M. (2014). The Value of Qualitative Methods in Social Validity Research. Remedial and Special Education, 0741932514524002.

Mack, N., Woodsong, C., MacQueen, K. M., Guest, G. & Namey, E. (2005). Qualitative research methods: a data collectors field guide.

State of California. Department of Developmental Services. (2015). Information about programs and services. Retrieved From