Improving care. Changing lives.

Department of Evaluation

Judge Baker Children’s Center Department of Evaluation:
Understanding the fit and effectiveness of services to improve child and family development and behavioral health


The Judge Baker Children’s Center Department of Evaluation works to improve the quality of child and family behavioral health and special education services by using rigorous and context-sensitive evaluation and research strategies to examine the implementation, effectiveness, outcomes and fidelity to established and promising models of care. We work collaboratively with a wide range of community, governmental and academic partners to help promote long term sustainability of best practices and improve outcomes for children and families.


  • Goal #1: Describe, operationalize and evaluate programs and organizations serving youth and families.
  • Goal #2: Build capacity in evaluation.
  • Goal #3: Contribute to the knowledge base on evaluating child and family mental health services. 

Goal #1: Describe, operationalize and evaluate programs and organizations serving youth and families. Good outcomes require three essential ingredients: an effective program model, strong delivery of that model, and a supportive context*. The Judge Baker Department of Evaluation helps providers identify the strengths and limitations of programs and services in each of these areas, as well as the fit of programs to the local context. We employ an active evaluation approach to help drive positive change in organizations and programs so they can better meet their goals. We focus on programs serving youth and families across the continuum of developmental phases, from early childhood, through school-age, adolescence and the transition to young adulthood.

Our evaluations focus on:

  • Model description and operationalization - Is the program or service well-defined, have essential elements been identified and is there a program manual that describes the program and can be used for training, fidelity monitoring, quality improvement, outcome monitoring and scale-up?
  • Outcomes and effectiveness – Do programs and services contribute to positive outcomes for children and families in ways that are significant and meaningful? Do efforts to improve programs or build organizational capacity actually enhance the benefits of programs for children and families?
  • Process, fidelity, & adaptation – Are programs and services being delivered with sufficient fidelity to the established model to result in good outcomes? Do the services delivered meet the needs of children and youth at a particular phase of development in a specific setting? How can programs be adapted to the individual and local context without compromising fidelity to the model and result in good outcomes?
  • Implementation context & fit – does the organization have the staff, resources, and support from stakeholders in the organization and community to achieve and sustain good outcomes, and is the program responsive to the needs of providers and communities?

Goal #2: Build capacity in evaluation. Although evaluations are typically time-limited, programs and services need to be continuously evaluated to ensure that they are producing the desired outcomes. Our evaluation strategy is to empower partners to continue understanding the effectiveness, quality, and fit of their programs after our funded work ends, by building the capacity of providers to conduct ongoing evaluation activities.

Goal #3: Contribute to the knowledge base on evaluating child and family mental health services. The Judge Baker Department of Evaluation contributes to discovery and innovation by conducting evaluation research and synthesizing and disseminating research findings to scholarly and practice audiences.

To learn more, please contact:

Dr. Robert Franks 

*Fixsen, Naoom, Blase, Friedman, and Wallace