Evaluation of anger management counseling and treatment of domestic violence by the Capital Area Michigan Works Proposal

Anger management Program description

Anger management and counseling program utilizes therapeutic techniques and tools of psychology in assisting families and inmates in correctional facilities to control their emotions1.

The program is being implemented in facilities from several states in North America with the sole intention of reducing violence among inmates and caregivers, and reducing cases of domestic violence, child neglect, and child abuse2. Most of the crimes committed can be directly linked to uncontrolled anger and emotions.

By running this program in correctional facilities helps to avoid recurrence of crimes committed even when the inmates and caregivers are placed under parole programs. Focusing the program on parents and care givers assist in reducing cases of child neglect and domestic violence. Many children from low families experience neglect and violence due to uncontrolled emotions from their caregivers or parents.

The program also ensures that the beneficiaries develop an assertive communication skill whereby they are able fight for their rights without infringing the rights of others. In Michigan, the program is administered by the Capital Area Michigan Works which ensures that all the correctional facilities in the state have the program running as well as offering counseling services to the parents and caregivers.

Problem statement

The main problem that the program intends to create a solution to is domestic violence, child neglect and violence in correctional facilities3. This is one of the most serious problems in the society. It is therefore expected that the mentioned cases of violence will reduce as the anger management and counseling program is implemented in the society targeting caregivers and inmates.

Program mission

The anger management program ensures that the inmates and caregivers gain important and essential skills that assist them to interact peacefully with each other. The program intends to achieve this by helping the inmates and caregivers to control their emotions and develop assertive communication skills.

Nonetheless create a situation where the inmates and caregivers solve their problems in an amicable way without leading to violence. The parents who neglect their children in most cases usually need counseling services to help them realize that their problems.

Program goals and objective

The main goal of the anger management program is to help the inmates and caregivers control their anger. The inmates and caregivers are taught interpersonal communication skill, forgiveness, and honest expression of feelings, stress management, empathy, relaxation, and tendency to be appreciative all the time.

Focus of the evaluation project

Description

The evaluation project for anger management program intends to ensure that the program is effective in its implementation. The evaluation follows the logic model for programs assessment.

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This involves giving consideration to several aspects of the program that needs to be evaluated4. These aspects include: the problem that the program intends to solve, the results produced by the program, the activities of the program, and the resources that are used to achieve the overall goal.

Besides measuring the goals and results produced by the program, the evaluation will also focus on the curriculum used to run the program. This document will be evaluated to identify how effective it is in producing results in line with the overall goals and objectives of the program.

Goals and purpose of the evaluation

The main goal for the evaluation project is to assess the impact that the anger management program has on the inmates and caregivers to see if is proving effective. Through identified evaluation indicators the project will gather information that is relevant to the purpose of the evaluation.

For instance, the beneficiaries who are the inmates and caregivers have to illustrate improvement from the previous state where they were not able relate without violence. They have to demonstrate that they can express their emotions in a rightful way and utilize the critical skills that they learn from participating in the anger management program.

The evaluation also intends to assess the cost effectiveness of running the program. There are several resources that are needed in maintaining the program for a long period of time and the aim is to see whether the resources are worth it.

Also, depending on the outcome of the evaluation, several recommendations will be made to various stakeholders to further improve on the effectiveness of the program and its adoption in other states and regions where it is still not yet implemented.

Assumptions for the evaluation

The major assumption made for this assessment is that the data collected and submitted for analysis will be accurate and the true reflection of the impact achieved. None of the information given to the evaluation team shall be deliberately false.

Another assumption is that the working team of evaluators shall be focused on achieving the overall goal of the evaluation. Ethical issues also have to be considered and it will be assumed that all the individuals in the evaluation team are very much aware of all the ethical implications of this project.

Stakeholders for the evaluation project

The main stakeholders and audiences for this assessment include: governments within the regions in which anger management program is implemented, the management and body governing correctional facilities in different states, and the anger management program implementers. These are the main stakeholders because in one way or another, the results of the program will influence them in decision making.

Some of the stakeholders are in a decision making position where they will be required to act upon the recommendations provided by the evaluation team. This mainly includes the program implementer, the body in which correctional facilities fall under, and local, state and city governments.

Contextual factors for the evaluation

The program has to be completed by March 4th 2012. It will run for a period of three months beginning from January 4th 2012.

Program evaluation questions and their rationale

The evaluation hypothesis is that anger management program is effective in reducing cases of child neglect, domestic violence and violence in correctional facilities.

The project intends to prove the effectiveness of the program and from a long term perspective; this can eventually lead to a general reduction in crime. In line with the hypothesis, there are several question and sub-questions that are included to define the scope of the evaluation. Each of these questions has their rationale, and identified audience or stakeholders directly linked to the questions.

The first question regards the program effectiveness in solving the intended problem. This question can be broken down to focus more on the challenges that the implementation process meets in trying to ensure that overall goals and objective of the program are met.

It also involves: defining all the purposes and goals for the program, looking at the area of focus that will assist in obtaining all the goals and objectives of the program, and the problem statement.

All the stakeholders are directly linked to this questions and any recommendation made here will require the action and participation of each stakeholder. The importance of this question is to ensure that the need for anger management program is real and it really exists.

It helps in clearing doubts that there are no cases of domestic violence, child neglect, and violence among inmates in correctional facilities. It assists the evaluator to know that there is a problem of uncontrolled emotions in the target population and the identified program is the right solution for the problem.

The second question regards the activities of the program in ensuring that it is implemented correctly to the target population5.

The question can be broken down into several other sub-questions including: the total number of staff members that work to ensure the program is implemented, the amount of money needed for all the activities of running the program, how the program is run on regular basis, how many of the inmates and caregivers actually receive the services offered in the program, and the general organization of the program.

The audience linked to this question mainly includes the program implementers and sponsors. This question is important because it will give the evaluation process a firm underpinning of data collection. It also provides the feasibility or practicability of the program in terms of sustaining it for longer periods. Strong and weak areas of the program can be identified by providing answers to this particular question.

The third question regards the relationship created between the program implementers and the beneficiaries. This question can be broken down into other more focused sub-questions including: the level of qualification for the entire team of program implementers, their professionalism in interacting with their clients, and the need for constant supervision of the services they offer.

The audience directly linked to this question is mainly the team of implementers. The question is important in ensuring that the right data is collected showing accurate reflection of how the beneficiaries are being impacted. It is the appropriate question for gathering descriptive data from the participants.

The final question focuses on the curriculum used to implement the program. This document has to be measured for its effectiveness and recommendations be provided that will enhance the curriculum. The curriculum is usually the most important tool for implementation of this program. All the other personnel have to be trained to follow the curriculum.

Program evaluation indicators

The indicators to be used in this evaluation project are to measure both the process of implementation and the impact of the program. Indicators basically are supposed to help in the process of data collection that supports the questions and the hypothesis for the study.

Therefore the two indicators selected to help in identifying measurable aspects of the program are: the capacity for service delivery and change in behavior. The first indicator aims at identifying aspects that help in measuring program implementation whereas the second indicator would help collect evidence that support the impact that the program has had so far on the participants.

Justification for the evaluation indicator

All of these indicators are very much important in monitoring the relevant aspects of the program that are appropriate for evaluation. They both guide in achieving the goals for the evaluation process. The main goal of the project is to assess how effective anger management program is proving in the facilities in which it is conducted.

The indicators are also based on the logic model for the program evaluation and assessment. Each of the steps in the logic model is a critical aspect that helps in judging or evaluating a program. It is possible to identify minor alterations during the process of evaluation just from the two indicators selected.

There are factors however that can alter or change the expected direction in which the indicators are supposed to lead. These factors therefore make the indicators not to be very reliable in proving that the evaluation project is successful or failing. In order to solve this problem, it may be necessary to make modifications to the indicators any time.

Evaluation methodology

Description of program design procedure

The indicators have to be measured in order to ensure that the evaluation process is heading to the right direction. The design of the project will therefore be necessary at this point. Mixed method program design that involves qualitative and quantitative design methods will be used.

This is because of the nature of data that will be collected for analysis. Both descriptive and numerical data have to be collected. The descriptive data will basically be aimed at measuring the extent to which there is change in perception of the program beneficiaries. In other words the inmates and caregivers have to demonstrate from the data collected that their behavior is improving towards positivity.

Justification of design method

The main reason for picking on mixed method design procedure is because the data that needs to be analyzed will need both descriptive and inferential statistical methods of analysis.

Qualitative research design requires descriptive data for analysis whereas quantitative research design requires numerical data for analysis. There are several analyses methods for descriptive data but conceptual analysis will be used in making the conclusion for this study.

In order to collect data for qualitative method design, it will require that the program evaluation team, be involved in person during the process.

Each of the evaluator will be equipped enough during their training process to be looking for specific aspects as they interact with the inmates and caregivers and program implementers. This therefore means that the questions that would be used in for data collection will not be fixed questions but rather they will be adjustable.

Quantitative data collection design is equally important in collection and analysis of data using mixed method design. This will be used when it comes to collection and analysis of numerical data.

The source of numerical data for this evaluation will mainly be documented data from records of each program beneficiary and fixed non-open questions that only seek for specific answers. This method design is also important in collecting data that is aimed at evaluating the implementers and the process of implementation.

Data regarding the cost effectiveness of the program have to be numerical. In addition, data regarding qualification of each implementer and the number of staff and program beneficiaries from each of the facilities have numerical nature and therefore require quantitative data analysis.

Generally, the rate of violence in these correctional facilities has to demonstrate signs of reduction. In order to prove this, numerical data have to be collected and analyzed using inferential statistical data analysis. For instance, the number of times that violence has erupted in each of the facilities needs to be analyzed.

Limitations for the selected design method

The selected design method is not entirely perfect because it bears itself several limitations. One of the biggest limitations is the fear of validity and objectivity of the data collected; meaning, collecting incomplete and inaccurate data.

At the same time, this can also imply misinterpreting the collected data by the evaluation team or laying too much emphasis on specific data while disregarding others. This threat can seriously damage or affect the data collected for qualitative research analysis. Moreover, for quantitative research analysis, the main limitation that might occur is insufficient evidence.

The method design relies on data collected through fixed questionnaires interviews, and documented evidence. In case the program implementers do not keep the records of each of the participants of the program, then there will an anticipated problem in sufficiency of information.

Similarly, this may seriously affect analysis and eventually trying to reach the conclusion. Therefore one assumption made before beginning the evaluation is that the program implementers are keeping the necessary records that are vital for the success of this evaluation project.

Overcoming these limitations is also important and therefore several ways have been identified to assist with this. For descriptive collection, it is very important that the evaluation team responsible for collecting data transcribe their notes immediately in order to identify inconsistencies and other patterns resulting from the data collected.

This is also important for picking out themes that can be used for coding during analysis. The selected population for this evaluation will have to provide feedback just to ensure that the themes identified are accurate enough.

Target sample population

The intended population sample to be evaluated includes the program beneficiaries and the program implementers. These are respectively, the inmates and caregivers who benefit from the program and the staff team that work to see the goals of the program are implemented.

Sampling is important because it is not possible to interview all the involved participants of the anger management program. Therefore a representative sample has to be selected from the entire population.

The same techniques used in research apply in evaluation when it comes to sampling. The data to be analyzed will be collected from the representative sample as the primary source of data. The data will also come from documented evidence and literature material as secondary data source.

Considering the nature of the evaluation project it is important that both formative and summative evaluation be conducted. A bigger sample will be used to help in providing more accurate data for evaluation. The inmates and caregivers are definitely in large numbers and their interview is more necessary for proving the hypothesis of the study as compared to the program implementers.

Therefore the population sample for this group of inmates and caregivers has to be large in order for the data to be accurate enough. There are also several facilities that have adopted the program and therefore evaluation cannot be done on all of them.

Only five will be selected for evaluation. And this five will be a representative sample for the entire population of correctional facilities. In case of evaluating the staff team and its general performance, almost all members of the team will have to be interviewed. This is because, their number is small and it will not be as complicated to interview them.

Selecting the population sample

Selecting the sample population for the beneficiaries of the program will be done either through stratified random sampling or simply random sampling.

In this way, the inferences made from the evaluation project would be all inclusive or it will be a reflection of the entire population of inmates and caregivers and implementers. Through random sampling possibilities for biasness is eliminated and each of the members of the population has equal chance of being selected.

It would be inappropriate for the selected sample to be biased since this increases the error made from the process of data analysis. This particular program of assessment does not require only selected population sample that shows improvement in behavior change to prove that that the program is successful.

Therefore every individual or inmate participating in the anger management program will be given a number which will be used to randomly select them. The size for the sample population will be 100 from each facility. This is already a huge number that is expected to reduce possibilities of errors in analysis, and ensure that the data collected is virtually accurate.

The main limitation anticipated for selecting the design method and a large population sample, is time. In order to collect, analyze and come up with a conclusion for the study, it would take quite a long time for it to be completed perfectly.

Another thing that this study does not utilize is piloting program that to measure whether the intended result for the evaluation will be achieved. At the same time, it does not utilize a control group to measure extraneous factors that would alter the expected result.

Project timeline plan and budget

As stated earlier, the project will run for a period of one months beginning from January 1st 2012 to February 4th 2012. The first and most basic event in the timeline is a training seminar for all the members of the evaluation team.

The seminar will run for a one week where all the evaluators will be provided with the necessary information that they require to ensure the project is a success. Also during this seminar, the evaluation team in charge of data collection will be given an opportunity to simulate how they will interact with the inmates and caregivers and also the program staff team.

This will be more of a piloting exercise even though its main purpose will be for simulation and not to measure anything. The seminar will end on the 9th of January 2012. It is also expected that the sponsors will attend the training seminar in order to have a one on one interaction with the evaluation team.

The next event on the program timeline would be commencing the evaluation in the first selected correctional facility to the last facility. Each of these activities will run for a period of two days. In between these activities there will be breaks, which will be used to begin analysis after data is collected for each facility.

The main audience for the data collection and analysis activities will definitely be the evaluation team, the anger management staff team and the beneficiaries of the program. There shall also be progress updates done after every two days. This will involve gathering all the preliminary findings since it is expected that field notes be received immediately.

The budget for the program is focuses more on personal salaries and fringe benefits of the evaluation team. The team will mainly include a total of thirty individuals: five evaluators who will run the analysis, twenty student research assistants who will be responsible for data collection, four supervisors and a training consultant for the week long training seminar.

The total salary and fringe benefits for all these individuals adds up to $14,670. Other important and necessary cost is the cost of operation.

This mainly includes traveling and accommodation costs for the team of evaluators. They will be required to make trips to the five selected facilities. Therefore the total amount of money that will be required for the entire evaluation project is $ 25,000. This exceeds the $ 23,250 set aside by Capital Area Michigan Works. However, it is justified and every bit of it will be accounted for.

Reporting

Reporting can take several different forms that coincide with the interest of the stakeholders. For some of the stakeholders a more detailed and intense reporting would be appropriate for their understanding while for others a simple report would do. Despite this, the reporting has to generally be in a standard format that summarizes every key point of the findings and provides an outline for every basic section.

For the general audience who may include students and members of faculty from universities, the reporting has to be detailed enough, even though they require a report that only summarizes the main ideas concerning the use of psychological therapeutic instruments to solve problems in the society resulting from uncontrolled emotions. For this particular audience, a general reporting format is necessary.

This includes a summary of the procedure and methodology, context of the evaluation, findings, and the inference made. Recommendations are not necessary for this audience because the findings do not mean a lot in terms of decision making for this group.

An executive summary will not be included for the general audience. In addition to this, the audience shall only be issued with a written report but no oral session aimed at delivery the report.

However, representative and officials from state, local and city governments shall have to be presented with both a written report and an oral presentation of the findings. This is because they hold the power to make decision concerning the need for anger management program in correctional facilities.

The government and authorities concerned are expected to take necessary action depending on the findings of the evaluation. Therefore it is appropriate that they be engaged in an oral presentation whereby they would get the opportunity to deliberate upon the recommendations through a session of questions and answers. This oral session is expected to influence the minds of this particular audience so that they act upon the findings.

Basically, the oral presentation will include a summary of what the audience needs to know with regard to the results, and what they need to do in response to the findings. All these will be done in a simple power point presentation that is easy to understand. The presentation must also use graphics and charts to bring out the summary.

In the executive summary, the key information that will have to be included is the cost of running and sustaining the program, and further recommendations. Since this audience has no technical expertise in any way, the language used in the executive summary and the entire written report must be very simple enough for general educated persons to understand.

With regard to delivery of the report, both oral and written delivery will be done and in addition to this, a master file shall be established where certain information can be used to measure the progress of the program in terms of improvement. This is for the sake of continuance of formative evaluation.

The program implementers also need to be served with a report which they can continue measuring improvements made on the program. This is important because they are mandated to ensure the program proves a success.

Finally, the findings will also be shared with a wide range of audiences. There are several interested parties that could benefit from this report. Therefore a detailed written article would be uploaded in the internet for easy download for the purpose of referencing. The summary will also be placed in newsletters of various psychology faculties in different universities.

In general, the findings of this evaluation project should be shared by many in different part of the world because they are intended to be action oriented. By this it means that if the program proves effective in correctional facilities, then it something worth being adopted all across the world.

Conclusion

The project intends to make recommendations specifically aimed at each the stakeholders. The recommendations made will cause decisions to be made that are geared towards improving the program further.

The project also intends to cover a wider audience that will ensure the evaluation is used as reference in several other faculties of public administration in various universities. Through the findings of the project and the recommendations made, it is possible that anger management program be adopted in several other correctional facilities from different parts of the world.

Bibliography

Bamberger, M. (2000). The Evaluation of International Development Programs. A View from the Front. American Journal of Evaluation , 21, pp. 95-102.

Capital Area Michigan Works, Development of anger management evaluation RFP (2011)

Constantine, M., & Sue, D. (2007). Perceptions of racial microaggressions among black supervisees in cross-racial dyads. Journal of Counseling Psychology , 54(2), 142–153.

Gelso, C., & Fretz, B. (2001). Counseling Psychology. New York: Brooks Cole.

Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation. (1994). Program evaluation standards: how to assess evaluations of educational programs. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publication.

Footnotes

1 Gelso C.and Fretz B. Counseling Psychology (New York: Brooks Cole.2001)

2 Capital Area Michigan Works, Development of anger management evaluation RFP (2011)

3 Constantine M. and Sue D. “Perceptions of racial microaggressions among black supervisees in cross-racial dyads” Journal of Counseling Psychology ,(2007, 54(2), 142–153)

4 Bamberger M. The Evaluation of International Development Programs. A View from the Front. American Journal of Evaluation (2000, 21, pp. 95-102.)

5 Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation. Program evaluation standards: how to assess evaluations of educational programs.(Thousand Oaks: Sage Publication, 1994)