In FY 2013, OPRE awarded a contract to NORC to develop and implement a multi-site evaluation of Project LAUNCH (Linking Action for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health). This evaluation focused on the outcomes for children and families living in Project LAUNCH communities, and examined the impact the initiative was having on increasing community wellness. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funded this evaluation.
Project LAUNCH is a SAMHSA discretionary grant program designed to promote the wellness of young children ages birth to 8 years of age by addressing the physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of their development. Project LAUNCH grantees implement a range of evidence-based public health strategies to support young child wellness. Participating states, territories and tribes work to improve coordination among child-serving systems, build infrastructure, and improve methods for providing services. The majority of grant funds are passed from the state/territorial/tribal level to a local pilot community where the grant supports the enhancement and integration of services in addition to implementation of five prevention and wellness promotion strategies: Screening and Assessment in a Range of Child-serving Settings; Integration of Behavioral Health into Primary Care Settings; Mental Health Consultation in Early Care and Education; Enhanced Home Visiting through Increased Focus on Social and Emotional Well-being; and Family Strengthening and Parent Skills Training.
The multi-site evaluation design involved primary data collection of child-specific outcomes from parents recruited from schools and early childhood education (ECE) centers selected from LAUNCH grantee locations, and matched comparison community schools and ECE centers. The evaluation design involved the structured collection and compilation of data regarding system changes in LAUNCH target areas, and comparison communities. In addition NORC collected data on LAUNCH grantee strategies, resource allocation between strategy types, and school or ECE level covariate information on the demographic and other relevant characteristics (crime statistics, and school level historical differences in performance) of the target and comparison communities under observation.
In FY2008, OPRE awarded a contract to Abt Associates to develop and implement a cross-site evaluation of Project LAUNCH. Abt collected information from Project LAUNCH grantees related to state, tribal, and community systems development; implementation of evidence-based services in local communities; and local grantee evaluation designs and findings. This evaluation was funded through an intra-agency agreement between OPRE and SAMHSA.
The point of contact is Laura Hoard and Nainan Thomas (SAMHSA).