Mandated and Voluntary Evaluations

Mandated and Voluntary Evaluations Evaluations are not spontaneous events. Rather, they are either mandated or voluntary. A mandate to evaluate a program is always linked in some way to the funding agencies, whether a govern- mental body or a foundation. If an evaluation is mandated, then the contract for receiving the program funding will include language specifying the parameters and time line for the mandated evaluation. The mandate for an evaluation may specify whether the evaluation will be done by project staff members or external evaluators, or both. For example, the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), created in 1998, is a federally funded and mandated program to expand insurance coverage to children just above the federal poverty level. Congress has the authority to mandate evaluations of federal programs and did just that with the SCHIP. Mandated evaluations of SCHIP include an overall evaluation study by Wooldridge and associates from the Urban Institute (2003), and an evaluation specifically focused on outcomes for children with special healthcare needs

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