This article examines methods used improve the ongoing monitoring and outcome evaluation of home-based foster care services.
The growing emphasis on evaluation may require agencies to re-think some of their organisational practices - for example, in order to accommodate evaluation procedures and requirements - and to re-distribute infrastructure and resources. Evaluation can be complicated, time consuming and resource intensive, and the skills required are not necessarily commonly taught as part of everyday practice in the broader child and family services sector. Program evaluations can be conducted solely within the agency by drawing on the existing knowledge, skills, and capabilities of existing staff, by an external consultant brought in specifically to design and conduct the evaluation, or through some combination of the two. This article outlines how the third of these options is being utilised to put in place a framework for the ongoing monitoring and outcome evaluation of home-based foster care services.