Matrix Database

The purpose of an outcome-based approach is to focus the impact of a program or agency on the well being of families and their community.

The Matrix database is designed to track family progress from the time of engagement through case management. The database is constantly evolving from the input of participating agencies. If you are interested in testing out the database, select "Demo Database." Please contact Jerry Endres for further instructions on accessing the Demo Database.

At the national level, the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 gave rise to the design and implementation of Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA) models using what has become known as a “Scales and Ladders” approach. In 2003, a review of family development outcome measures was conducted for the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services. Of the five family development outcomes efforts reviewed, only the California Family Development Matrix (FDM) has been subjected to scientific scrutiny through reliability testing which has been documented. The FDM is also the only known model to be in full operation at this time and is unique in its ability to capture outcomes adapted for specific program purposes while maintaining reliability. It is also based on a strengths based practice framework and is used in a family systems theory context that encourages full participation by the family in scoring and in tracking their outcomes.

The Matrix is what Abraham Wandersman writing in “Efforts to Outcomes” refers to as empowerment evaluation; “An evaluation approach that aims to increase the probability of achieving program success by,

  • providing program stakeholders with tools for assessing the planning, implementation and self evaluation of their program, and
  • mainstreaming evaluation as part of the planning and management of the program and organization”.

The Matrix process is a series of structured design steps that guide the customization of a Matrix outcomes model to fit the specific programs and the population, to train staff to use the tool for assessment and evaluation.

The Matrix outcomes model is a ladder and scale instrument that helps a program document progress. Indicators are located within each category to describe the content and depth of circumstance or conditions (evidence) for the assessment of progress. Change is measured over subsequent assessments. In addition, within each indicator is a set of (4) status level measures for scoring the actual situation. Each indicator’s status levels has a beginning point (in crisis) and an ending point (safe, self-sufficient), with increments in between. Building the steps of this ladder for Matrix status levels is a group design process. As stakeholder groups and program staff become involved in the design process, usually the better the results because the indicators are more reality based.

Matrix outcomes data documents a story of engagement, an agency or program’s results and/or the community’s perspective of its current conditions. These measures create a baseline of information from which, after subsequent assessments, one can see changes in indicator measures over a period of time. An overall purpose of the Matrix evaluation is to collect information to strengthen programs and institutions. The assessment process actively seeks to involve people, organizations and institutions in the community to improve programs by measuring the results of their activities. Through the measurement of performance and progress indicators the Matrix Outcomes Model establishes results-based accountability.

Questions to answer:

  • How can program outcome progress be measured?
  • Do we have good data to determine how changes took place?
  • How can we use the information for making program changes?
  • Can we analyze the results while implementing the program?