The field of Human Services is related to providing appropriate quality of life for populations, which face serious social issues. People involved in this fieldwork on prevention and remediation of problems that present certain risks to the life of people. Knowledge of effective methods of measuring a specific behavior and understanding the importance of treatment fidelity is of vital importance for providing the effectiveness of the program.
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One of the wide-known human service programs is the program aimed at helping people experiencing homelessness launched by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. This program ensures the delivery of essential human services to people who do not have enough earnings to buy or rent a place for living. The ultimate goal of ending homelessness is supposed to be reached by providing housing, primary care, treatment, and other services that are essential for providing an appropriate level of life.
The methods of measuring a specific behavior this program works with include interval data collection and event recording. These methods are helpful while evaluating candidates for participation in the program and analyzing the impact of participating in it. Interval data collection involves several observation time periods. The behavior of participants is observed during each of the intervals and is recorded in the appropriate way. Such a method allows us to put less effort and spend less time evaluating the behavior of a person. Event recording is aimed at measuring the number of times a certain behavior occurs. This method is best for behaviors with a distinct beginning and end. The method is not effective when the behavior of interest occurs at a high rate. Both methods can be helpful for people involved in the program, which is aimed at helping homeless people.
However, they should be used in different stages of measuring specific behavior. Event recording appears to be more suitable for evaluating the candidates’ eligibility for participation in the program. Interval data collection appears to be more effective while evaluating the behavior after participation in the program. It can help to reveal if the participant returns to his habits, addictions, or behaviors that occurred prior to participation in the program and had led to homelessness. Therefore, this method can help to analyze the effectiveness of the program. The best evidence of the effectiveness of employing these methods is the impact on the success of the program caused by the results gained while using the methods. If these results let provide visible improvements that lead to the higher efficacy of the program, then the methods can be considered suitable.
Understanding of what is treatment fidelity is of vital importance for evaluating the effectiveness of human service programs (Royse, Thyer, & Padgett, 2010, p. 318). This term defines the strategies used to ensure the accuracy of the intervention aimed at changing the current behavior. In other words, treatment fidelity reflects the extent to which the treatment was executed as intended. Both clients and service providers can undermine treatment fidelity in many ways (Royse, Thyer, & Padgett, 2010, p. 318). Treatment fidelity has a strong influence on the effectiveness of a human services program, as it ensures the achievement of internal validity within the program. Therefore, it plays a crucial role in providing positive effects of the interventions and reaching the main goal of the program.
Service providers involved in human services programs should be aware of effective methods of measuring a specific behavior and the importance of treatment fidelity for ensuring the effectiveness of the program.
Royse, D., Thyer, B., & Padgett, D. (2010). Program evaluation: An introduction (5th ed.). Belmont, California: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
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