Over the past two decades, the terms “accountability” and “program evaluation” have become the focus within the human services arena. Due to budgetary constraints and decrease in availability of public funding, the competition for scarce resources has increased. This increased competition has subjected human services agencies to an intense examination where requests for resources are scrutinized carefully.
The first step to conducting a program evaluation is to conduct a needs assessment to determine and justify the reason for carrying out the evaluation of a particular program. A need can be defined as the gap between what is and what should be and can be experienced by an individual, a group, or an entire community.
Using at least 3–5 scholarly resources from the professional literature, research human service needs assessment. The literature may include the Argosy University online library resources, relevant textbooks, peer-reviewed journal articles, and websites created by professional organizations, agencies, or institutions (.edu, .org, or .gov).
Create a 7- to 9-page report in a Microsoft Word document, including the following:
- Identify a program at a social agency or other human services program to which you have access and provide a description of the organizational context including the mission and objectives of the program and why an evaluation is being considered.
- Conduct a needs assessment using concepts presented previously to confirm and explain the scope of the problem, the perceived versus actual gap in service, the affected population, whether the need is changing, and in what manner the need may be changing.
- Identify possible resources to meet the perceived needs. Discuss what existing resources can be used, what additional information would be needed, and what sources for obtaining data you would use.
- Identify the stakeholders who need to be included in the assessment and subsequent evaluation.
Analyze the interpersonal, political, and ethical considerations of interacting with decision makers and stakeholders who may have conflicting priorities and determine strategies for reconciling those priorities.