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Assessing the Effectiveness of the Second Chance Act Grant Program through a Phased Evaluation Approach Using an Implementation Science Mixed Methods Approach

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $1,142,634)

The applicant proposes to conduct a three-phased evaluation of at least five sites implementing the Second Chance Act (SCA) program. Phase I will consist of a formative evaluation. The applicant proposes to determine if an outcome/impact evaluation is feasible at the particular site. It also seeks to assess the overall SCA goals to determine if the objectives are clear and if the site has a well-defined mechanism for measuring these objectives. The applicant will conduct evaluability assessments (EAs) and the data for the EAs will include program documents, administrative records, expenditure and revenue data, program reports, key informant interviews, training and technical assistance provider reports, and site visit program observations. The applicant also seeks to capture differences between purposeful and unintended deviations from program fidelity. Each site will also be assessed in terms of their feasibility to participate in a randomized controlled trial (RCT). The applicant intends to use data from the EAs to create practitioner-oriented articles highlighting the barriers to implementing rigorous, evaluable programs. The applicant intends to use the Corporation for National and Community Services (CNCS) evaluability assessment tool to guide these assessments. The tool captures organizational, program, and evaluation readiness for each site. Phase II will entail the development of the site-specific evaluation design. The applicant intends to implement an RCT, but if an RCT is not feasible, the appropriate quasi-experimental design will be determined. Finally, Phase III will consist of the implementation of the evaluation plan. The applicant intends to use a 36-month follow-up period to assess participant outcomes.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law, and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14). CA/NCF

Date Created: September 16, 2020