Online Program

A quasi-experimental evaluation of a program for homeless ex-prisoners in minneapolis

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Anthony Petrosino, Ph.D., WestEd, Woburn, MA
Sarah Guckenburg, MPH, WestEd, Woburn, MA
Trevor Fronius, MA, WestEd, Woburn, MA
The Network for Better Futures is a Minneapolis-based program designed to provide a multi-tiered layer of support for chronically homeless ex-prisoners. Although the program has been operational since 2009, no impact study has been implemented. Therefore, a retrospective quasi-experimental evaluation has been funded.

Both the funding organization (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) and the program (the Network) want to implement a study of the Network's impact on major outcomes of interest.

The study will provide one of the first rigorous studies of this type of program, potentially benefiting society, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Network, and the Network's future clients. Because random assignment was not feasible, a quasi-experimental design was implemented. The quasi-experiment will compare outcomes for a treatment group of men enrolled by the Network during 2011 with outcomes for a comparison group of men who applied for enrollment, met all program eligibility criteria, but otherwise did not enroll. To further increase the similarity between these two groups, a matching procedure will be employed. Using administrative data from MN state agencies, there are four major outcomes of interest: (1) criminal recidivism, including arrests, convictions and returns to prison; (2) health care utilization, including Emergency Room visits, hospitalizations, psychiatric commitments, health care costs, etc.; (3) Child support payments; and (4) employment.

Preliminary findings are anticipated in the summer/fall of 2013

Successes and challenges to conducting a quasi-experiment on this population will be discussed along with any preliminary results.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice

Learning Objectives:
Explain the successes and challenges of conducting a quasi-experimental evaluation of a program for homeless ex-prisoners. Describe the matching procedures used to create a matched comparison group of men who applied for the program, met eligibility, but did not enroll. Identify the data sources used for the matching procedure and outcome analysis and issues related to data reliability

Keyword(s): Homelessness, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I currently co-direct a multi-city randomized trial of a teen pregnancy prevention program and a quasi-experimental study of the Better Futures Minnesota program. I also have experience conducing research and evaluation projects on public health areas such as substance use, criminal justice, and bullying.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.