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CTIVITIES

DIGEST

AL YEAR 1979
CAL YEAR 1979

A.

Reason for the Evaluation

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program Evaluation is one of a series of eva luations conducted by the Veterans Administration under title 38 V.S.C., $219. Pursuant to $219, the purpose of the evaluation was the measurement and analysis of the impact of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, in order to determine its effectiveness in achieving stated goals in general, and in achieving such goals in relation to their cost, their impact on related programs, and their structure and mechanisms for delivery of services. The purpose of this report is to provide the appropriate committees of Congress with information and data resulting from the evaluation.

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gathering activities. The primary data gathering phase involved research
into the history, background, and development of the program as reflected
in legislation, regulations and program policy. During this phase the
evaluation team interviewed program officials in Education and Rehabilita-
tion Service, Department of Veterans Benefits (DVB), and also discussed
rehabilitation issues with officials in Rehabilitation Medicine Service
and Mental Health and Behavorial Sciences Service of the Department of
Medicine and Surgery (DM&S). Officials of interested service organiza-
tions were consulted and other Federal agencies with functions in the
rehabilitation area were contacted for their views.

The team made research visits to the Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and St. Paul Regional Offices to familiarize itself with the actual operation of the program and to ascertain problem areas deserving attention. The VA Data Processing Center at St. Paul was visited to inspect the record maintenance and control system for Chapter 31.

The research phase also involved a review of the literature dealing with rehabilitation as related to the VA program. A bibliography of those works containing worthwhile reference material is attached as an appendix to this study. Of special interest was the literature deriving from the regional centers for rehabilitation research set up in recent years by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and from contracts made by RSA for outside studies in the rehabilitation area. A number of the centers were contacted and the evaluation team received copies of studies, handbooks, and other materials directly bearing on the theory and practice of evaluation in the rehabilitation area.

After preliminary research provided a sound overall view of the program, more intensive discussions were held with program managers to identify and specify in clear terms the goal and objectives of the program. This included meetings with the Counseling and Rehabilitation Staff at Central Office and, for rehabilitation services under DM&S jurisdiction, representatives of Rehabilitation Medicine Service and Psychology Service. Although this study does not involve an evaluation of DM&S programs, it was felt useful to obtain DM&S input on objectives and criteria where DM&S activities are closely linked with and essential to DVB program functions.

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