PATH actively tracks outcomes of its services. The capacity for ongoing research and Program Quality Improvement is enhanced through PATH in Minnesota’s association with PATH North Dakota and PATH Idaho. The organization has both a full-time director of quality outcomes and a part-time doctoral level research director.
PATH uses the Evolv system for maintaining electronic information. This system helps us in understanding composite information about the youth in care and provides basic information for evaluating our services. The Evolv client information system also allows the agency to produce a variety of agency or regional specific research reports that can help the referring agency focus on desired outcomes and measure effectiveness.
PATH is committed to using evaluation and research to influence and improve our services. The following is some of what we have learned.
Most Needy Youth
Research at Minot State University shows that PATH North Dakota was serving the state’s most difficult children in terms of behavior and mental health diagnosis, in comparison to group homes and residential treatment facilities. This research, and similar research elsewhere, leads us to believe that most children can be successfully served in foster family settings.
Mental Health Diagnosis
Children and youth in care show multiple mental health diagnosis. Common diagnosis include: Depression, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Disruptive Behavior Disorder, Aspergers, Autism, and developmental disorders.
The SRDI (SAFY Risk of Discharge Inventory) inventory is used to help measure and avoid unplanned discharges, and safety plans were established in 95% of situations. As a result unplanned discharges and incident reports are minimized. Placement stability is maximized. Based on this evaluation, we are now considering also implementing the SRDI at PATH.
Our information from PATH in Minnesota indicates that about 77% of children discharged from foster care go into less restrictive environments. Last year permanent family connections were established for 68% of kids while in care.
The PATH North Dakota Family Support program helped prevent out-of-home placement in 78% of its matches. The program helped families with a variety of situations, including children’s mental health, parent disability, and kinship care. These successful outcomes are why we are now working to develop this program at PATH.