Description of the human service program
Human services programs focus on the prevention and remediation of problems and are characterized by the commitment to enhancing the population’s overall quality of life. The objective of satisfying human needs necessitated the development of human services programs in the US after the establishment of the Social Security Act of 1935. The Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance benefits (OASDI) is one of the Social Security programs that every American is entitled to as their social right (Burger, 2014). The chosen setting for the evaluation of the human services program is the state of California, in the county of Alpine.
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The beneficiaries of the OASDI include retired workers, widows, widowers, parents, physically challenged workers, and men and women aged 65 years or older. Guided by the principles of social insurance, the program delivers monthly benefits that partly intend at replacing the loss of income due to retirement, death, or disability. Additionally, the program helps workers employed outside the US employed by Americans or foreigners. The beneficiaries could also include employees of foreign affiliate entities of an American employer or the self-employed in some instances. The criterion for becoming a beneficiary implies that an individual must make payroll tax contributions during their tenure years whereby, a permanent coverage is granted to those who have contributed for a minimum of 10 years. The disability insurance covers individuals between 18 and 64 years who are unable to engage in employment due to impairment. The disability cover beneficiaries automatically become old age beneficiaries after they turn the age of 65 years. The survivors that include individuals under 18 years of ages, dependent widow, and widowers, and dependent parents get covered by the “survivors insurance” when an insured worker decreases (Lewis, Packard, & Lewis, 2011).
Identification and analysis of the main objectives of OASDI
The primary goal of the program is concerned with the maintenance of the income of the American citizens by focusing mainly on economically unproductive and vulnerable groups like the elderly, physically challenged, and widows. Therefore, loss of revenue induced by sensitive circumstances like death, retirement, and disability is restored through social security insurance covers. Additionally, the program seeks to mitigate income disparities that are induced by loss of revenues sources due to unavoidable circumstances. The program depicts its motive of combating poverty in the US economy. Furthermore, the OASDI human services program aims at fostering social and economic security for the attainment of substantial growth and development (Burger, 2014).
The essence of maintaining the income of the population stabilizes the economy even in times of economic depression. In this case, pensions can be utilized as financial resources for the elderly in spite of harsh economic conditions. Moreover, the objective of alleviating social and economic disparities ensures that loss of income due to death, retirement, or disability does not infringe the citizens’ rights that ought to apply equally to all. The goodness of the realizing a socially and economically secure society ensure that all the vulnerable groups in society grow and develop regardless of the loss of income (Lewis et al., 2011). For instance, the persons with disabilities could engage in entrepreneurial activities that could foster their sustainability and that of the economy even in times of economic fluctuations.
The evaluation of the OASDI human services program would adopt a mixed research methodology that links qualitative and quantitative paradigms relating to social security issues. The qualitative approach would consider figures and provable results of the program to facilitate the data collection process that would adopt the use of surveys. On the other hand, observations regarding the impact of the OASDI program would constitute the qualitative aspects of the research design through ethnographic studies and interviews.
The research design fulfills the purpose of the study since its scope delves on the aspects of social and economic elements of the program (Royse, Thyer, & Padgett, 2010). Therefore, the quantitative data collected could assist in evaluating the impact of the income distributed to the various beneficiaries in the county of Alpine. Conversely, the quantitative approach suits the social aspect of the program whereby the stakeholders involved would give their feedback regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the program. Triangulation of data for the assurance of validity and variance levels could be achieved through the integrative design. Besides, the complementary attribute that relates qualitative and quantitative data would facilitate the clarification of either throughout the inquiry (Goussinsky, Reshef, Yanay-Ventura, & Yassour-Borochowitz, 2011). Therefore, incorporating the surveys, ethnographic studies, focus groups, and interviews would improve the efficiency of the evaluation endeavors.
Study sample population
The selection of the Alpine County setting for carrying out the research was based on the unique aspects of the population that would foster the validity of the findings through a critical analysis of the variations. Since the population of OASDI beneficiaries in the Alpine County is 215, a probability sampling approach would be applied. Therefore, a stratified sampling method would be adopted to select the survivors, physically challenged, and old age persons. The possibility of observing, surveying, and interviewing all the 215 beneficiaries would be highly valued for reliable and valid results for evaluation (Burger, 2014).
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Conducting an ethical inquiry is highly recommended in the field of research. Therefore, upholding confidentiality and privacy, informed consent, frank intellectual property discussions, awareness on multiple roles is essential (Goussinsky et al., 2011). The participants’ anonymity and availability of sensitive information only to relevant parties would be adopted for maintaining confidentiality and privacy. Oppressing participants for would be avoided and data collection would only proceed after informed consent of the respondents. Further, issues regarding plagiarism of data from the Alpine County Administration and other sources would be circumvented whereby, the statistical data obtained would be cited accordingly as a way of showing the credit to the sources.
Additionally, the participants would be involved in discussions about the limits of the confidentiality to avoid conflicts. Familiarizing oneself with the federal laws concerning research on national policies would also be valued to ensure compliance with the stipulations. Moreover, providing practical security to the confidential documents by ensuring safe storage also requires consideration.
It is also important to note that there are controlling standards in ethical development concerning research on human program services participants. Thus, the research objectives should be valuable to the program and should be undertaken scientifically to avoid the research being redone since it would be torturous to the participants. The risk to the participants while embarking on the research should be minimized. Another guiding principle in ethical development is the respecting of the subjects participating in the research while the subjects should also be selected impartially, equitably and without prejudice through the probability sampling technique.
Monitoring of client progress is essential, and it is achieved through mechanisms that progressively examine client change in terms complacency of human needs (Yuen, Terao, & Schmidt, 2013). The tools used in client progress evaluation should provide the government with methodical feedback on the client response to human service programs and the level of success of the programs in meeting clients’ needs. The monitoring of client progress tools is supposed to be regularly used in the course of the human service program to ensure the set goals in the program are achieved as per the correct time and resource schedules.
One of the key tools that could be used to assess and evaluate client progress is survey through the use of key informants and focus groups or community forums. The utilization of key informants involves the use of individuals in the society who can objectively assess the human service program. The informants should not be selected on the basis of understanding the program. The assessors should also bear in mind that the practicality of using informants is founded completely on the selection process. Further, the informants should be carefully chosen to reflect different settings and perspectives in the insight they pass on the client progress facilitated by the human service program (Yuen et al., 2013).
On the other hand, the focus groups or community forum involves calling for meetings for individuals in the human service program and other vital participants to air their views on the success or failure of the program. The focus groups and community forum will also establish the levels of failures or success and particularly the areas that need improvement. Nonetheless, in focus groups assemblies, the attendants to the meeting are invited while the conventions are open to everyone in community forums. Focus groups take short time since the individuals selected are taken as they are capable of assessing the clients’ progress. The open forums consume more time since the attendant tend to go beyond assessing the client progress.
The other significant tools of assessing and monitoring client progress include the use of outcome questionnaires (Lewis et al., 2011). The outcome questionnaires will include queries on all the objectives of the human service program intended to be achieved. The aftermath’s questionnaire will also cover subjects such as client satisfaction with the program and areas the program should include offering more aid. The questionnaires should also ask clients dissatisfaction with the human service program to ensure improvement (Yuen et al., 2013).
All these tools in practicality should measure client progress through checking at the appropriateness of the program as well as the outcomes of the program on the client. Client progress monitoring is vital towards up surging cost effectiveness, pinpointing clients who are not improving and assesses the quality of service being provided to the beneficiaries. Lastly, the monitoring of the beneficiaries’ progress institutes consistent or routine practices that are efficient in the human service program.
Threats to validity
The threats to internal and external validity need avoidance to enhance the reliability of the findings. Threats like bias, testing results inconsistency, statistical regression, and reactive impacts of research arrangements requires mitigation for an efficient evaluation process. Selecting maturation interactions for comparing the different views of the participant groups would also interfere with the variance of the necessary information regarding the OASDI program.
Communication of the results
The evaluation of the OASDI program in Alpine County would be meaningful through sharing of the information to the relevant authorities. Therefore, the publication of the results through various media would appropriate for enlightening the public, beneficiaries, and the California Federal government of ways of improving the delivery of the human services program. Furthermore, sharing the information to imply that other researchers would delve into a replication of the inquiry to validate it and provided more insights on the topic.
In this regard, a previously considered journal would be used to publish the report of the findings in the form of an article. A transparency criterion would be adopted to illustrate clearly the steps involved in the research process. Additionally, a detailed justification of the chosen methods would constitute the article presentation to ensure clarity. The publication of the report would also observe the uniform requirements that comply with the submission of the criteria for the journal publication. The enhancement of the data would consider extensive review that involves experts in the field through a fallible process. Retyping of the article would also be found to suit the main objectives of the study (Goussinsky et al., 2011).
Human services programs like the OASDI mainly aim at improving the quality of life of vulnerable groups in the society by meeting their human needs. Evaluating the efficiency of the program is essential for the validating the effectiveness of the program through the application of scientific methods of inquiry. The adoption of a suitable research methodology is vital for providing a guide that seeks the realization of the research objectives. In this case, a research design that incorporates a mixed methodology ensures that the complementary association of the qualitative and quantitative data fosters the clarification of crucial aspects of the evaluation process. Additionally, meeting the ethical requirements confirms that the research process upholds aspects like confidentiality and privacy to protect the interests of the respondents. Disseminating the evaluation findings fulfill the essence of the research objectives and calls for necessary action for the improvement of the human services. Moreover, researching on a topic concerning human services instills the key aspects of conducting an inquiry that is also beneficial to the public.
Burger, W. (2014). Human Services in Contemporary America. Belmont, CA: Cengage.
Goussinsky, R., Reshef, A., Yanay-Ventura, G., & Yassour-Borochowitz, D. (2011). Teaching Qualitative Research for Human Services Students: A Three-Phase Model. The Qualitative Report, 16(1), 126-146.
Lewis, A., Packard, R., & Lewis, M. (2011). Management of Human Service Programs. Belmont, CA: Brooks Cole Publisher.
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Royse, D., Thyer, B., & Padgett, D. (2010). Program Evaluation: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Yuen, K., Terao, L., & Schmidt, M. (2013). Effective Grant Writing and Program Evaluation for Human Service Professionals. New York, NY: Wiley.