Program Research and Evaluation

Assisting agencies/organizations evaluate how effectively and efficiently they serve persons with significant disabilities. Through comprehensive research practices the CDRS assists agencies in converting data into usable information to improve the quality of services and efficient use of resources. Specializing in consumer satisfaction surveys, needs assessments and supported employment studies that utilize computer software to collect and analyze various types of data. The CDRS also supports agencies with strategic planning assistance and training based on agency needs. All these projects provide research opportunities for graduate students within the SERC Department.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Service (ADRS) has collaborated with the CDRS to conduct the Vocational Rehabilitation Consumer Satisfaction Survey for the general population. ADRS is responsible for commissioning this survey and for the continued funding of this study. As in previous years, the survey will include consumers who were closed successfully (i.e., with an employment outcome of 90 days or longer at closure), as well as consumers closed unsuccessfully (i.e., without an employment outcome after services had been provided). The satisfaction of both groups is necessary to understand multiple perspectives on individual experiences.  The survey will assess three components of consumer satisfaction:  (1) satisfaction with VR counselors; (2) satisfaction with services provided; and (3) satisfaction with the level of consumer choice in rehabilitation planning. 

Recently, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded a grant that will address and implement supported employment in Alabama. The total grant award of $4 million was made to the Alabama Department of Mental Health. The CDRS will receive a sub-award for independent program evaluation in the amount of $400,000, 2014-2019. The grant opportunity funded by SAMHSA, is entitled “Transforming Lives through Supported Employment in Alabama.”  Supported employment is generally defined as an approach to helping people with the most significant disabilities participate in the competitive labor market, helping them find meaningful jobs, and providing ongoing support from a team of professionals.  The project will: 

  • Oversee the implementation of the Individual and Placement Support (IPS) model of supported employment in Alabama, coordinate cross-agency collaborations, provide guidance to IPS policy development, and create a financial plan to ensure sustainability;
  • Create and oversee the development and implementation of a comprehensive and permanent IPS supported employment training and technical assistance program;
  • Create and oversee the development and implementation of high fidelity IPS SE programs in two pilot communities, providing access to IPS for at least 450 consumers over the five-year period; and
  • Provide outreach to veterans in Alabama to ensure all veterans in need of mental health services who prefer to seek treatment at local community mental health centers have the opportunity to participate in IPS service from an Alabama community mental health provider.

The CDRS is the independent external third party involved in this project and will perform fidelity reviews, and obtain unbiased feedback and input for improving program outcomes. 

Last Updated: Feb 24, 2015

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