Needs Analysis for Proposed Evaluation of TANF Program

Needs Analysis for Proposed Evaluation of TANF Program

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Abstract

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a social program with the purpose of improving the lives of needy families in the country. The government spends millions of dollars on this program. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the program to determine if this money is being put into the intended use. Also, the program replaced another social program that was unsuccessful. This further creates the need to evaluate it. The evaluation findings will help determine if the program is achieving its goals or not. This evaluation proposal explains why and how the evaluation process will be implemented.

Table of Contents

Abstract                                                                                                                                   2 Introduction                                                                                                                            4 Needs Analysis                                                                                                                       4 Data Collection and Analysis                                                                                                 5 Implementation Plan                                                                                                               6             Phase 1: Starting the evaluation                                                                                  6                                                                                                 Phase 2: Full Engagement                                                                                          6             Phase 3: Wrapping up                                                                                                 7 Standards and Criteria                                                                                                            7 Conclusion                                                                                                                              7 REFERENCES                                                                                                                       9

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is among social programs in the country. Its purpose is to improve the lives of needy families. The local, state and federal governments spend millions of dollars on this program. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the program to determine if this money is being put into the intended use. The evaluation will focus on determining the extent to which the program has achieved its goals. The evaluator will implement the evaluation process through collaboration with all stakeholders to complete the necessary research and evaluation. Utility, feasibility, propriety, and accuracy standards will be vital to the program evaluation. Also, the evaluator will use effectiveness, coverage, and relevance criteria in the evaluation process.

Needs analysis

The TANF program has three direct participants. The first participants are the funding agencies including the county, state, and federal governments.  These participants will desire the program to improve the lives of needy families (Administration for Children and Families (ACF), 2019). This outcome will be measured by assessing the number of families that the program has benefitted and the dependency rate.

The second group comprises of the needy families. This is the group that benefits directly from the program. This group will desire the program to improve the quality of their lives (ACF, 2019). This outcome will be measured by assessing the employment rate among needy parents, the number of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and the number of needy families with two parents. 

The third group is the organizational management which ensures that the program is implemented. This group will want the program to utilize the available resources in improving the lives of needy families. This outcome will be measured by assessing satisfaction among needy families.

Five procedures are required to run the TANF program. The first procedure is identifying the purpose of the program (Royse et al., 2016). The second procedure is determining if the political and economic climate favors the funding of the program. The third procedure is ensuring that there are inputs to support program implementation. The fourth procedure is implementing the intervention. The last procedure is evaluating the outcomes of the program.

Since the government spends millions of dollars on the program, it is important to evaluate it (ACF, 2019). In the evaluation process, the evaluator will comply with ethical requirements. This includes addressing any conflict of interests or any form of bias in the evaluation process (American Evaluation Association, 2015). The evaluator will also consider political pressures that may hinder the success of the program.        

Data Collection and Analysis

To evaluate the TANF program, qualitative data will be collected to evaluate whether the program has achieved its goals or not. With this type of data, it will be possible to understand the activities behind the program outcomes and assess the perceptions of the beneficiaries of the program and their wellbeing (Royse et al., 2016).

The best sources for data collection are primary data sources. This is information collected from people impacted by the program. Primary data is not only objective but authentic and more reliable. The evaluator will use two techniques, interviews, and questionnaires, to collect data. These are the appropriate techniques because they will help collect richer data facilitating a deeper understanding of the effectiveness of the program (Royse et al., 2016).

A random sampling technique will be used to select participants. This is the best technique because the program affects a large population who are all eligible participants. Through this technique, everyone will have an equal chance to participate in the study. Then, content analysis will be used in data analysis. This is considered a great technique for analyzing qualitative data (Royse et al., 2016). The evaluator will start by finding meaning in the responses of the respondents. Then, the evaluator will make inferences about this data.

Implementation Plan

To complete the necessary research and evaluation, the evaluator will collaborate with other people such as program staff in three phases.

Phase 1: Starting the evaluation

During this phase, the evaluator will collaborate with the evaluation team and program staff to address issues that will guide the evaluation process. Having a conversation with the program staff will help collect useful information to guide the implementation process. Involving all stakeholders in this stage will help create a sense of belongingness within the group (Donis-Keller et al., 2013). The evaluator seeks to have the evaluation teamwork as a group with all the stakeholders. A strong sense of togetherness will drive the group to work towards the success of the evaluation process.

Phase 2: Full engagement

After designing the evaluation, the evaluator will continue to collaborate with others in the second phase. They will work partnership to design appropriate tools for collecting data, deciding the evidence that should be collected, collecting data, analyzing it, identifying relevant ways to report the findings, and to review the evaluation results (Donis-Keller et al., 2013). The partnership will ensure that the evaluation process goes on uninterruptedly. This is based on the continuous process principle of group dynamics which requires every group member to be responsible for the continuous operation of this group.  

Phase 3: Wrapping up

            The final phase of the evaluation program involves the use of the evaluation results. The focus is on how best to use the results. The evaluator will work in partnership with others in developing a data-informed action plan for implementing recommendations (Donis-Keller et al., 2013). The evaluator collaborates with others in this phase because a group should only adjourn upon the completion of the set tasks. The evaluation process is not over until a plan is made to use the findings to improve a program.

Standards and Criteria

            The evaluator identifies the following standards and criteria as the best for evaluating the program. The first criterion is the effectiveness. It involves measuring the extent to which the program has achieved its purpose (OECD, 2019). The second criterion is coverage with the focus on the populations reached by the program. The third criterion is relevance with the focus on assessing whether the program is in line with the needs and priorities of the target population.  These criteria have been selected over others such as impact, coordination, and efficiency because they are in line with the purpose of the evaluation. Also, the evaluator identifies utility, feasibility, propriety, and accuracy standards as vital to the program evaluation (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Through these standards, the evaluator will ensure that all evaluation parts are well-designed and working to the full potential.

Conclusion

            The purpose of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is to improve the lives of needy families. The government spends millions of dollars on this program. It is important to determine if this money is properly utilized. One way to do this is through program evaluation. The evaluation will focus on determining the extent to which the program has achieved its goals. The evaluator will implement the evaluation process through collaboration with all stakeholders to complete the necessary research and evaluation. Implementing the proposed evaluation process will help determine if the program is effective or some changes are required.

References

Administration for Children and Families (ACF) (2019). About TANF. Retrieved from            https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/programs/tanf/about

American Evaluation Association. (2015) Guiding principles for evaluators. Retrieved from     http://www.eval.org/p/cm/ld/fid=51

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017). Evaluation Standards. Retrieved from             https://www.cdc.gov/eval/standards/index.htm

Donis-Keller, C., Meltzer, J. & Chmielewski, E. (2013). The Power of Collaborative Program           Evaluation. Public Consulting Group, Inc., 1-8.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2019). Better Criteria            for Better Evaluation, 1-13.

Royse, D., Thyer, B. A., & Padgett, D. K. (2016). Program evaluation: An introduction to an evidence-based approach (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage.