Background: A multi-state consortium was developed in the US to conduct baseline data collection and intervention research on fetal alcohol syndrome. Each state employed support specialists whose job it was to reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption in women who were at high risk for drinking alcohol during their pregnancy. The purpose of this paper is to report how support specialists in three primarily rural/frontier states were trained to assess client need and how client need was actually assessed in the field.
Methods: A qualitative process evaluation was conducted using semi-structured interviews. Interviews were conducted with state staff involved in support specialist training and consortium activities and the support specialists themselves. Inductive analyses were conducted with interview data.
Results: Need determination varied by state and for one state within the state. How support specialists were trained to assess need and how need was assessed in the field was mostly congruent.
Conclusion: Process evaluation is an effective method for providing practical and useful answers to questions that cannot be answered by outcome evaluation alone.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/tim_dunnagan/1/