Evaluating children’s rehabilitation services: an application of a programme logic model.

OBJECTIVES: To apply a programme logic model to evaluate the effectiveness of a new therapy service for children with special needs who were in transition from pre-school to kindergarten.

SETTING: A children’s outpatient rehabilitation centre in Ontario, Canada.

MAIN OUTCOMES: The short-term outcomes included parents’ perceptions of the transition process itself and the information they required, the children’s skill development for the transition to kindergarten, and parents’ perceptions of services and satisfaction with resources.

METHODS: A combination of quantitative methods [Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS), Measure of Processes of Care (MPOC), Client Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ)] and qualitative interviews were used to evaluate both the process (‘Outputs’) and outcomes (‘Short-term objectives’) of the new therapy service.

RESULTS: The children involved in the evaluation met or exceeded goals that were set by therapists and parents. Parents’ perceptions of, and satisfaction with, the new service were higher than the provincial average. Qualitative data from interviews with parents and service providers supported the findings from standardized measures, and provided suggestions for future service delivery.

CONCLUSIONS: The programme logic model provided researchers and service providers a collaborative and systematic approach to conducting programme evaluation in a relatively short-time frame. It appears to be a useful option for evaluation of other children’s services.