Outcomes Measurement and Social Services - The Government Perspective

Harry P. Hatry, Director of State and Local Government Programs, The Urban Institute

This paper discusses social service outcome measurement for governments agencies -- federal, state, and local. It also examines some activities of private non-profit organizations where significant activity is emerging. It focuses on the special needs of government agencies for regular, timely, and detailed feedback on outcomes for various client groups and service conditions. It reviews current federal, state, and local outcome measurement efforts, including simplifying their limitations and potential benefits. The need for practical data collection procedures is discussed, as well as the potential dangers in government agency performance reports. Finally, the importance of good research to identify both intermediate and end outcomes that should be tracked by governments is discussed.

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