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Why not rate social programs?

During my years in social work and since, I’ve seen a crying need for some kind of ratings. No one has an idea of what are the best programs for addiction, crime, mental illness, or whatever. There is hardly even a direc­tory of them. Many programs sound good, but are disappoint­ing. No one seems to know what works nor why because:

(l) Social work floats on emotion.

We are asked to contribute to some charity because there is a ‘need’ for a ‘disad­vantaged’ person and the charity ‘cares’. Whether there are greater ‘needs’, just how ‘disadvantaged’ the person is, or whether ‘caring’ makes a difference, is never gone into.

Millions of dollars have gone into poverty programs without defining poverty or considering cost-effectiveness. Emotion counts; facts don’t.

(2) Social workers don’t ‘judge.’

They are trained not to see the poor person, criminal, or whomever as lazy, greedy, improvi­dent, selfish, spoiled, imma­ture, or irrespon­sible; that would be ‘judgmen­tal’. Likewise it is ‘judgmental’ to rate a poor person’s progress or a social program’s effectiveness.

Other social subjects have been rated – charities, politicians, professors, cities, countries, repressive governments, and schools. Social programs can and should be rated.

There is also a need to rate the literature. What are the best articles and books on poverty, discrimination, addiction, adoption, truancy, workfare, etc. Such material is basic, yet when I was in social work, there was none. In agencies dealing with delin­quents, there was nothing on discipline.

When I started a home for mental patients, there was no manual available. Then too most of the literature is obfuscated, circuitous, erudite, theoretical, and full of psychobabble.

Rating both programs and literature would show what is available, what is worth considering, how some non-professionals are more effective than professionals, how private programs compare to public. They would show: the effectiveness of workfare, which charities are the most effective, the money that can be saved by going to a good self-­help group, how discrimination has not held back blacks from the West Indies, how it took two years to get people off welfare in one project, and that one state lock ups more people than another state the same size, yet has a higher crime rate.

Ratings are needed for accountability, definition, a yardstick, a bottom line.

These two forms have not been tested:

Rating social programs

1 point for each if applicable
Negative – A Positive – A
Agency
____public……………………… ____private
_____needs business………… ____waiting list
____pre-occupied with building or remodeling
Staff
____cynical or idealistic…….. ____realistic
____’bohemian’………………. ____straight
____overly ‘professional’…… ____down to earth
____’psychobabble’…………. ____plain language
____emotional……………….. ____objective
Goals
____abstract………………….. ____traditional
____glowing…………………… ____unglamorous, not easy
Approach
____’new’……………………… ____traditional
____theory……………………. ____common sense
____complex…………………. ____simple
____patronizing……………… ____limited concern
____client’s friend…………… ____client’s agent
____sympathy……………….. ____empathy
____permissive………………. ____firm
____roundabout……………… ____straightforward
____encourage & hope……… ____bargain and get
___progress is fun, exciting, expressive, warm……it’s slow, hard work
Results
____lots of time………………. ____never enough time
____client’s affection………… ____appreciation
____dependence…………….. ____independence
____neg. total A……………………. ____pos. total A
Positives – B
The management:
____itemized bills
____open financial records
____everyone’s role is defined
____program is simple and posted
____clients are referred and followed up
____list of relevant info for clients and relatives.
Misc:
____bldg. is accessible to transportation and employment
____bldg. is clean, ventilated
____suggestion box
____good staff/client repoire
____neighborhood is conducive to goals
____positive attire and morale of clients
______ pos. total b
______ pos. total a
______ total
less _____ neg. total
______ grand total
=================================================
Rating the disadvantaged
1-2 poor3-4 adequate5-6 very good
POSITIVE

mental
short term memory ___ long term memory ___ atten. span _____
good judgment ___ common sense ___ alert ___ aware ___
manages $ well ___ in touch with feelings____
maturity
assertive ___ realistic ___ flexible ___ responsible ___
confident ___ moderate ___ active ___ positive ___
open-minded ___ pride ___ empathy ___ humor ___
foresight ___ contributes ____
motivation
work habits ___ self-discipline ___ honesty ___
hygiene ___ attire ___ grooming ___
general manners ___ table manners ___
takes care of room and belongings ____
misc
___knows chores ____ does chores
Total A __________
NEGATIVE
mental
deluded ___ hostile ___ compulsive ___ confused ___
withdrawn ___ preoccupied ___ tense ___ hyper ___
frustrated ___ adverse to physical contact ___
sexual problems ___ gets lost ____
immaturity
childish ___ spoiled ___ selfish ___ stubborn ___
craves atten. ___ wants magical relationships ___ clings to folks ___
expresses feelings inappropriately _____
motivation
lazy ___ bored ___ spoils self ___
plays head games ___ post­pones _____
misc
defensive ___ resentful ___ uses others ___
Total B __________
Total A ______ minus total B ______ = _____________ rating
comments
One Response to “Why not rate social programs?”

Standing back from the keyboard in amazement! Thanks!

  • Anonymous August 13th, 2011 5:17 am
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