UM SSW The Institute  

Rural CARES Evaluation

Contact Info:

Maria Jose Horen
Research Supervisor

Evaluation Principal Investigator:

Terry Shaw
Assistant Professor


Theda Rose
Research Assistant Professor

Rural CaresThis evaluation is the most comprehensive study to date of a children's mental health service delivery program and a community-based approach to system development that addresses mental health problems. The evaluation design is complex and includes multiple components that involve a variety of methodologies, both quantitative and qualitative.

The evaluation describes who is served by Rural CARES; show whether there are observable differences in child and family outcomes that can be linked to a faithful implementation of the system of care approach; describe how children and families experience the service system and how they use services and supports (i.e., utilization patterns); estimate the cost of serving children in systems of care; illustrate the development of systems of care as they move toward offering integrated and comprehensive services; assess the effectiveness of the system of care approach as compared to usual service delivery approaches; and support technical assistance activities to help CMHS best meet program goals.

The evaluation provides information about Rural CARES' achievements, child and family outcomes, and mental health service needs. The following are some of the questions the evaluation answers:

  • Who are the children and families we serve?
  • What services do children and families receive? What do they cost?
  • How much do outcomes improve for children and families over time?
  • How do systems of care develop over time?
  • How do children and families evaluate their experience with systems of care?
  • What factors help to sustain the system of care after federal funding ends?

Reports & Publications


  • Care Coordinators Evaluation Training, October 2012
  • DPR Presentation for Governance Board, October 2012

Additional Resources: