Social Work client evaluation.
Refer to Understanding Generalist Practice by: First-Shaman and Graft man Hull Jr.
The complexity of evaluation.
For many of us the evaluation component is one we would rather walk away from, or for many of us, running is more like it!
My dislike for formal evaluation started in my work with HIV prevention. My question at that time: “In prevention, how can we measure something that does not happen?” How do we know we are making a difference? “If program funding follows success, but people are continuing to get infected, how can we claim success?” All good questions, but as always, there is more to the story. Although I was not a social worker during those years, my questions were valid.
Formal evaluation is lacking in every social work job I have had. In my BOW research class I learned to monitor client learning with a per and post intervention questionnaire. Thankfully, I had a great research professor who helped me to design and evaluate my work. Since then, there has been no formal opportunities for evaluation. Ethically required, yes. In place in most organizations, no.
Why might organizations not have evaluation as a focus?
As you work towards becoming a social worker, what role do you think evaluation plays in the work you will do? Have you ever really thought about it before? Formal program evaluation kind of looks like math, and that alone can send some of us running. For others, evaluation is a great way to demonstrate need, progress and outcomes.
Considering micro, mezzo and macro practice, where do you think evaluation is most meaningful? Why?