The Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation, Second Edition

Published: January 15, 2010
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The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), a unit within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), is responsible for advising the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families on increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of programs to improve the economic and social well-being of children and families.

In collaboration with ACF program offices and others, OPRE is responsible for performance management for ACF, conducts research and policy analyses, and develops and oversees research and evaluation projects to assess program performance and inform policy and practice. The Office provides guidance, analysis, technical assistance, and oversight to ACF programs on: strategic planning; performance measurement; research and evaluation methods; statistical, policy, and program analysis; and synthesis and dissemination of research and demonstration findings.

Toward these ends, OPRE is happy to present an updated edition of The Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation. The original guide has consistently been the most frequently accessed of OPRE's resources. The new edition has been updated, under the guidance of Kathleen Dwyer, to reflect currently accepted practices, up-to-date terminology, and issues to consider at this time. Tips, samples, and worksheets that were missing from the online version have been inserted back into the guide, as has a thoroughly updated appendix containing a comprehensive list of evaluation resources. Based on feedback within ACF, we have chosen to focus on a single guide that includes examples that would be relevant to all ACF program areas, rather than create separate handbooks for each program.

As with the original edition of The Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation, this updated edition explains what program evaluation is, why evaluation is important, how to conduct an evaluation and understand the results, how to report evaluation findings, and how to use evaluation results to improve programs that benefit children and families.

Readers may also be interested in a related resource produced by the Children’s Bureau: Cost Analysis in Program Evaluation: A Guide for Child Welfare Researchers and Service Providers (2013)