program logic approach to describing the implementation of early intervention service
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28-10-2010, 10:35 AM

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program logic approach to describing the implementation of early intervention services for children with physical disability

The benefits of providing early intervention services (including multidisciplinary therapy and family
support) for children with physical disabilities and their families are widely acknowledged. Evidence,
however, of their efficacy is not well documented. Furthermore, many studies fail to adequately describe
the programs being evaluated and how these programs have been implemented by service provider
organisations. From a policy perspective, evaluators need to be mindful of contextual variations in
program implementation when examining initiatives and determining their efficacy. In this paper we
discuss how implementation of a cross-organisational early intervention initiative policy for children
with physical disabilities was enacted by three different service providers. In the present study, program
logic was employed to identify and explore these variations in implementation. While each individual
agency provided services and identified outcomes that were consistent with policy objectives, program
delivery varied considerably across service providers.

There is impetus for the delivery of early intervention services
for children and their families in Australia, echoing an international
trend. As a key national priority area early intervention
initiatives are evidenced in Australia in undertakings such as Early
Childhood-Invest to Grow and the Helping Children with Autism
package (Department of Families, Housing, Community Services
and Indigenous Affairs, 2008). In 2007, the Council of Australian
Governments (COAG) endorsed an agenda for early childhood,
with particular focus on education, development, and childcare
(COAG, 2007). At a state level, the Queensland government
launched the Queensland Early Years Strategy and the ‘Best Start
– Supporting Families in the Early Years’ initiative in 2006
(Department of Communities, 2008). The recent policy focus on
early childhood intervention and education reflects an increasing
awareness of the benefits of these programs for children, their
families and the wider community. Despite this, the evidence in
support of early intervention for some groups (e.g. children with
physical disabilities) is limited and draws largely on research


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