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Projects Completed/ In Progress

Autism Program Evaluation

An investigation of the programming that is provided via the Lackawanna-Susquehanna-Wayne Counties Mental-Health/Mental Retardation program for children for with autism is nearing completion. This project was funded via the program's challenge grant process and involves longitudinal assessment, over a one-year period, of the clinical status of the participating children as well as a group of children who are on waiting lists for services and consolidation with information extracted from clinical records to begin to gather a database addressing the impact of these services.

Lackawanna County Tobacco Control Program

BHRI has carried out a number of projects related to assessing the efforts of various facets of the tobacco control program efforts in Lackawanna County. Research efforts have focused on tobacco use among youth sports participants, attitudes about tobacco use among local school faculty and administrators, attitudes and perceptions of student anti-tobacco activists, as well as evaluation of various programs that have been provided under the auspices of the Tobacco Control Program. In addition, we are providing a synthesis of the progress and achievements of the various service providers who are participating in the program. As a part of this effort, we are assessing the prevalence of tobacco use among middle and high school students in the county.

Susquehanna County Tobacco Control Program

BHRI has carried out a thorough investigation of the availability of county-level data regarding the prevalence and incidence of tobacco use in the county. As a result of the finding that there seems to not be any data available pertaining specifically to the county, we are carrying out a survey aimed at providing data from teens about the prevalence of tobacco use, attitudes about tobacco use as well as exposure to and attitudes about tobacco advertising and anti-tobacco campaigns that have been implemented recently.

Criminal Justice Task Force

The BHRI is working with a local Industrial/Organizational Psychologist to carry out a needs assessment on behalf of the local criminal justice and human services system. The main goal of the needs assessment is to identify areas where gaps may exist in the spectrum of services that are provided for individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system. The data collection plan involves conducting surveys, focus groups and key informant interviews. An educational conference is planned for the end of the project, where the key results from the project will be presented along with a nationally recognized presenter.

After-School Program Outcomes Evaluation

BHRI has been working with a Lackawanna County collaborative group, consisting of Friendship House, Lourdesmont, Scranton Counseling Center, and Tri-County Human Services Center on the design of an after school program that will be used to provide services to youths who are involved in the juvenile justice system. The goal of the program is to reduce the necessity of out of county residential placements which have historically been quite costly for the county. Once the program is in operation, BHRI will be serving as the outcomes evaluator, collecting data on various indicators of the youth's functioning and progress to facilitate documentation of the impact that the program has on the target population. This program is being designed in coordination with the Lackawanna County Office of Human Services, the Lackawanna County Juvenile Probation Department, and the Lackawanna-Susquehanna-Wayne Counties Mental-Health/Mental Retardation program.

Early Intervention Administrative Review

The Lackawanna-Susquehanna-Wayne Counties Mental-Health/Mental Retardation program contracted with the BHRI to carry out a review of early intervention services that were provided to a sample of 30 children participating in the program locally. This review is a component of a program review that is carried out annually by the PA Office of Mental Retardation. This review involves assessing records at the base service units and service providers to ensure that services are being provided and documented according to the applicable regulations. We carried out this review in 2003 and have received a contract to do so again in 2004.

Consolidated Waiver Program Administrative Review

The Lackawanna-Susquehanna-Wayne Counties Mental-Health/Mental Retardation program contracted with the BHRI to carry out a review of the consolidated waiver program in the Tri-County area. This review is a component of a program review that is carried out annually by the PA Office of Mental Retardation. This project involved reviewing base service unit records of 50 of the individuals who are enrolled in the waiver program and ensuring that quality services coordination was being provided. In addition, this review involved inspection of consumers' residences and meeting with them to ensure that they were satisfied with the services that were being provided.

Lackawanna County Juvenile Treatment Court

We have been working with the Lackawanna County Court System as the outcomes evaluator for the County's Juvenile Drug Treatment Court. A proposal was submitted to and funded by the US Department of Justice Office of Drug Court Programs for an implementation grant for the local Juvenile Treatment Court. We also worked with the treatment court planning team, participating in the design and implementation of the treatment court. Via our work with the court on this project, we have also assisted the Lackawanna County Juvenile Probation Department with developing as assessment protocol that utilizes standardized screening measures for various mental health, substance abuse, and behavioral indicators as well as through assessment of family functioning variables that might impact on treatment and rehabilitation decisions.

Family Court Mediation Program Evaluation

The BHRI has carried out an outcomes evaluation for the Lackawanna County Family Court mediation program. This evaluation was aimed at assessing any impact that might have resulted in terms of number and duration of out of home placements of children involved in dependency actions through Lackawanna County Children and Youth Services. The methodology for this evaluation involved record reviews for 50 mediation program participants whose data were compared with 50 cases that were processed by C & YS during the prior year who not offered mediation. A final report was submitted to the court from this project in 2002.

MH/MR Program Direct Care Worker Retention and Recruitment Initiative

The Lackawanna-Susquehanna-Wayne Counties Mental-Health/Mental Retardation office has entered into an agreement with the BHRI to carry out an evaluation of the impact of a retention and recruitment plan that they are implementing. This plan is aimed at decreasing the turnover among direct care residential staff employed by the mental health and mental retardation community service providers. This evaluation involves tracking of both systemic indicators (e.g. staff vacancies, tenure or staff, turnover) and employee perceptions of many job satisfaction variables as well as the outcomes of contracts made as a result of the media campaign aimed at recruiting direct care staff. A report on the first wave of data collection was provided in August 2002. This project has been completed, with the final report provided to the Tri-County Provider's Council in the middle of 2003.

Luzerne County Family Diagnostic/Crisis Center Outcomes Evaluation

The purpose of the Family Diagnostic/Crisis Center was to avert psychiatric inpatient hospitalizations as well as provide a community-based facility where comprehensive, holistic, family assessments and treatment are provided as an alternative to out-of-home placements (foster care, inpatient, juvenile justice, etc.). BHRI staff collaborated closely with the staff of the FDCC and administrative personnel on the selection of assessment measures and design of a charting system to facilitate quantification of interventions. Measures were selected that would be useful to FDCC staff as well as collect data that will provide an indication about the efficacy of the FDCC program in terms of increasing strengths of the youths and families who are served. Data collection started in August 1999 during the initial month of operation of the FDCC. An initial technical report on this project was delivered to the county and program staff during the summer of 2000. A final report from this project was completed in early 2001.

Outcomes Evaluation for Lehigh Valley CHIPP Programs

The second phase of the Community Hospitalization Program Project (CHIPPII) for Lehigh and Northhampton Counties was initiated in the Spring of 1998. The CHIPPI program is a state funded initiative designed to decrease the consumer population within the state hospitals and to increase the mental health services infrastructure within the communities. Within the Lehigh Valley, two CHIPP projects have been initiated. The first was started in 1995 and is serving 130 individuals that have been released from or diverted from Allentown State Hospital. The second project, which CHIPPII, serves a total of 120 individuals who might otherwise require state hospital services. A variety of services are provided to maintain these individuals in the community, including in home mental health service provided by a community treatment team, residential community, including in home mental health services provided by a community treatment team, residential support services, vocational services and peer support services. In an effort to insure that the extensive services funded through the CHIPP projects are effective, efficient and appropriate to meet the needs of the consumers, a Care Management Agency (CMA) was developed. The CMA provided administrative and fiscal oversight for the CHIPP projects. CMA activities included the development of a quality improvement program for the CHIPP services to insure that the services provided to consumers of the highest quality and met the needs of the consumers.

BHRI involvement with this project involved collaboration with CMA staff to select the measures used to track client outcomes. Training/data collection protocols were designed by BHRI staff with collaborative input from CMA. For wave one, BHRI secured student data collectors to conduct the client interviewing as a part of the project. For wave two of data collection, a more extensive battery of measures was selected and data collection became a function of the treatment team members.

The tracking of the CHIPP consumers progressed through three waves of data collection. Three technical reports have been delivered to CMA, the agencies providing treatment team services and the county program offices. The final technical report integrated the outcomes data with CMA data on critical incidents and treatment variables and was completed in late 2001, completing the project. A presentation at the 200 Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Psychotherapy Research meeting was based on the CHIPP data.

Contact information: Jeffrey D. Leitzel, Ph.D., President/CEO
Behavioral Health Research Institute, 326 Adams Ave., Scranton, PA 18503
Voice:(570) 650-6286 Fax:(570) 383-6847  e-mail: BHRI@BHRI.NET