Mental Health Evaluation

Maine Department of Health and Human Services
Evaluation of Healthy Transitions Initiative

HZA served as evaluator of a SAMHSA-funded Healthy Transitions Initiative called Moving Forward. This five-year grant operated in multiple behavioral health sites in Maine with one focusing exclusively on homeless youth. The project tested the use and effectiveness of the Transition to Independence (TIP) model developed at the University of South Florida in multiple service settings as well as adding a Peer Mentor to the services received by youth.


Maine Department of Health and Human Services
Trauma-informed System of Care Evaluation

For six years HZA served as the state and local evaluator for the Trauma-informed Systems of Care project called THRIVE, funded by SAMHSA. The project was designed to build an infrastructure and implement an integrated system of care for children ages birth through eighteen with serious emotional disturbances. THRIVE advanced the trauma-informed approach in five key ways:

  • creating a Family Partnering Program which offered trauma-informed peer support to families receiving children’s mental health services;
  • convening the Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Learning Collaborative, which trained numerous providers in this evidence based treatment model;
  • providing trauma-informed technical assistance and training for agencies and direct service staff;
  • developing a Trauma-informed Agency Assessment and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) process by which to inform improvement and gauge progress at the agency level; and
  • encouraging the development of youth and family voice by supporting the creation and development of the Maine Alliance of Family Organizations and Youth Move Maine.

HZA’s evaluation demonstrated that children whose parents had had three or more trauma experiences in childhood actually had better outcomes when a Family Partner was introduced than children whose parents did not have trauma histories. The State of Maine Department of Corrections received a System of Care Expansion Grant to transfer the knowledge gained in THRIVE to the juvenile justice system, making those services more trauma-informed. HZA is both the technical assistance provider and the evaluator of this other multi-year project.


Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Evaluation of Family Helpline, Family Navigator and Right Turn

HZA evaluated three programs newly funded by the legislature: the Nebraska Family Help Line which responds to families with children with behavioral health concerns; the Family Navigator program which provides support to families over a three-month period to access behavioral health and informal peer support services; and Right Turn, the post-adoption program which provides support and services to families who have adopted children who manifest behavioral problems. The services were contracted to providers such as Father Flannigan’s Boys Town, Lutheran Social Services and the Nebraska Federation of Families all of whom provided data downloads for the evaluation. As part of the service, HZA created a dashboard so legislators and members of the public could track the volume of services rendered, the characteristics of the children and families seeking services, and the outcomes produced.


Maine Department of Health and Human Services
Co-occurring State Integration Initiative (COSII)

HZA conducted a rigorous process and outcome measures evaluation of the State Incentive Grants for Treatment of Persons with Co-occurring Substance Related and Mental Disorders, Co-occurring State Integration Initiative. The goal of this multi-year project, funded by a grant from SAMHSA, was to institute broad and far-reaching changes in the services offered to people across the State who experience co-occurring psychiatric and alcohol or drug-related disorders. To create a welcoming system, changes in approach were tested with diverse populations in three pilot sites, and then replicated more broadly at 27 health, mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities throughout Maine. HZA created a web-based database used by all the providers to track clients enrolled in the evaluation.


Maine Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry
Odyssey Program Evaluation

Funded by SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services, this project’s goal was to increase high school and college graduation and employment rates among youth ages 14 to 25 who had serious mental or emotional illnesses, as well as to decrease homelessness, substance abuse, and criminal activity. Working with the Department of Vocational Services at Maine Medical Center, the project emphasized employment and multiple work experiences building on the cooperation of local employers through the Mental Health Employer Consortium. As the evaluator of this multi-year effort, HZA used data extracted from the hospital’s management information system to track the enrolled youth. HZA also conducted focus groups with youth and their parents and surveys of youth participants. In addition to a final evaluation report, HZA worked with Maine Medical Center’s media group to produce a video featuring several transition-age youth and the challenges they had faced. It is being used with teachers, counselors and social workers to help guide their practice, demonstrating which techniques are effective from the youth’s perspective.