Drug Court Outcome evaluation, in contrast with program evaluation which addresses the effectiveness of the services being delivered, responds to the question, “How well are our drug court participants doing over time, as a result of the drug court experience.
In this evaluation component, there are quality indicators and benchmarks that include the use of the National Outcome Measures [NOMS] published by C-SAT and SAMSHA, some outcome measures recommended by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and some measures recommended by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals [NADCP]. “ 3
Drug court participants are administered a confidential survey at the time of induction and at periodic intervals including intervals post discharge from the drug court to determine whether there have been meaningful changes in behavior. The data collected by ACG Group in these surveys are statistically tested and include ANOVA and other tests for differences to determine how individuals differ from one time [admission] to other times [six months, twelve months, eighteen months, etc.] This is a very robust form of outcome evaluation that yields important information for stakeholders. An attractive, color-printed report is developed by ACG that contains these data in graphs, charts and forms that make for easy reading and understanding by stakeholders.
It is well established in the research literature that when consumers believe their needs are being met and have a positive relationship with service delivery staff, outcomes are significantly enhanced.3 Thus, ACG includes variables related to consumer satisfaction in the survey system which permits both the drug court team and stakeholders to understand what clients perceive that is positive and important to them and areas they believe need improvement. Our clients have found the input of drug court consumers to be very useful and have made improvements to their programs based upon this input.
Benchmarking refers to the practice of comparing one provider’s quality measures results to those of a group of other providers or to a national data base. This latter has been sadly lacking for drug courts and for behavioral health providers, however, the ACG Group has sufficient drug court providers to allow for confidential benchmarking. This practice enables meaningful, confidential comparison and collaboration among peer organizations for the purpose of improving services to drug court participants.
Whether you are a behavioral health organization or a drug court, outcome evaluation is an expectation of the new landscape. You can be assured that if you are not measuring your results, others will do so and you will be judged by those results. The Addictions Consulting Group is committed to helping organizations measure their performance using research-based measures and bio-statistical testing of variables. You will not find a more comprehensive and affordable evaluation system!
3 McLellan AT, Alterman A.L, Metzger et al,” Similarity of Outcome Predictors Across Populations,” Psychology, pg. 62