The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), in partnership with ICPS, was commissioned by FACS to undertake a process and outcome evaluation and an economic assessment of the Youth Hope Program (YHP). The primary aim of the YHP is to maximise the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and their families who are involved in (or who are at risk of being involved in) statutory child protection services. The program also aims to pilot innovative models of service delivery, which means that the services delivered in each of the program sites differ.
The process evaluation examined the extent to which the YHP has been implemented as planned (and if not why not), while the outcome evaluation assessed the overall effectiveness of the program. Specifically, the evaluation addressed the following research questions:
Has the YHP been implemented as it was originally designed and as intended?
How responsive were the services to clients from a range of diverse backgrounds?
What have been the benefits and challenges associated with establishing multiple partnerships and strategic relationships with internal and external stakeholders?
To what extent is the YHP (including case coordination, life skills, therapeutic interventions, family support, referrals and crisis intervention) consistent with international best practice?
How could the service delivery models be improved or modified to deliver better outcomes for CYP and their families?
Were there any other positive, negative or unintended consequences for participating CYP and their families, program partner agencies and the community?
To what extent have the intended outcomes for CYP and their families been achieved?
The economic assessment of the YHP:
Determined the cost associated with implementing the YHP, both as it currently stands (ie operating in five sites) and if it was expanded into additional locations in NSW;
Identified both tangible and intangible costs and savings for program participants, stakeholders, FACS and the wider community resulting from the YHP; and
Determined the cost-effectiveness of the YHP (ie the costs associated with delivering the observed outcomes) and compared this with similar programs operating elsewhere.