Assessing needs and measuring outcomes for survivors of domestic violence: Final report of the Colorado self-sufficiency matrix evaluationclick to download
The Colorado Domestic Violence Program (DVP) contracted with the Center for Policy Research (CPR) to evaluate the self-sufficiency matrix (SSM) in Colorado’s DVP programs. Specifically, CPR sought to determine whether the SSM showed promise as a tool used for case management and for evaluating domestic violence (DV) services.
This report details Phase I of the evaluation, which includes (1) a literature review, (2) a survey of DVP-funded programs’ staff, (3) interviews with DVP-funded programs’ staff, and (4) interviews with subject matter experts. The literature review, however, yielded little research on the SSM, and no articles addressed its use with DV populations. Most of our data on the SSM in DV settings comes from our interviews with 44 DVP-funded programs (92% response rate). Participants included executive directors, supervisors, case managers, administrative staff, and frontline advocates. Approximately 64 individuals participated in the interviews. We also interviewed 5 national and local experts.
Perspectives on the SSM for individual case management with survivors varied. Advocates reported a range of negative, neutral, and positive experiences. Some patterns related to factors that contributed to these perspectives are described in the report.
Participants discussed several training and implementation issues, which led to inconsistency in SSM implementation. Differences on how the SSM was implemented were found in regards to how advocates were trained to use the SSM, which domains were assessed with which clients, which clients received an SSM assessment, and the timing of baseline and follow-up assessments.
DVP-funded programs and subject matter experts reported several concerns with using the SSM as a tool to evaluate DV services. One concern was that the SSM does not fully capture important (a) needs of or additional barriers to accessing resources for the most overburdened, marginalized, or underserved populations; (b) aspects of domestic violence. Another concern was that the SSM does not fully capture important aspects of DV, such as safety, abusers’ previous and ongoing control or abuse. Furthermore, many raised concerns that the SSM does not speak to the type, quality, or impact of services by DV programs.
Conclusion and Next Steps
The SSM holds promise as an additional tool in a DV advocates’ case management “toolbox.” To improve its utility, respondents recommend additional adjustments to the tool, such as improving its cultural relevance. In light of the evaluation findings, however, CPR concludes that the SSM is not an effective tool for describing or evaluating DV program performance. Instead, CPR recommends that that in order to describe and/or evaluate DV services, it is important to use an appropriate DV-specific tool that aligns with the leading evidence-supported theory of change (Sullivan, 2016).
Issue(s): Gender-Based Violence
Focus Area(s): Domestic Violence Program Innovations
Issues & Focus Areas
- Child Support
- Child Welfare
- Early Childhood & Education
- Economic Security & Healthcare
- Father Engagement & Healthy Relationships
- Gender-Based Violence