Activity: Determining Outcomes and Measures

Activity: Determining Outcomes and Measures

Revisit the Friendly Head Start scenario and respond to the question that follows:

East Bank Head Start is large Head Start program with 10 centers. Each center has two classrooms, serves 40 children, and has 4 full-time teachers. One of the centers, Friendly Head Start, has two components to their mental health services and approach: mental health consultation and staff wellness. The overall vision of their mental health services is to improve relationships between children and teachers, to improve relationships between teachers and parents, to support children who experience emotional and behavioral challenges, and to increase staff wellness. They have one mental health consultant for their program. The mental health consultant is an employee of the local community mental health center and is contracted to provide 10 hours a week of mental health consultation services to the children, staff, and families of Friendly Head Start (360 hours per school year). The mental health consultant contract states that the MHC will:

  • Conduct two parent trainings a year
  • Conduct one staff training a quarter
  • Conduct classroom observations, including providing feedback on observations to classroom teams, meeting with teams to develop plans for improving classroom quality and addressing child behavior, etc.
  • Consult with teachers and families about children who experience social and emotional challenges
  • Make referrals for children and families needing additional services
  • Implement staff wellness activities

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What outcomes would you want to try and collect to determine if the program is meeting its vision for mental health services? List at least three key outcomes and the data that you’d want to collect.

For more information related to outcome-based evaluation and continuous quality improvement, The Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Evaluation Toolkit is an excellent source of tools that measure each of these four domains. In addition, the What Works? webinar series session on Evaluating Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (0ctober 27, 2010) highlights successful evaluation strategies in early childhood settings in three states via audio replay and support materials.

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This product was developed [in part] under grant number 1H79SM082070-01 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.