Data Collection, Research, Analysis and Quality Control

WJCS is committed to providing the highest quality of evidence-based care. Program evaluation and research activities are conducted regularly in WJCS programs and clinics to assess outcomes, facilitate quality improvement, and develop new programs. The director of research works with program and clinic directors, a team of psychology fellows, and research interns, and program and clinic staff to design and implement program evaluation studies and to collect and analyze data related to processes and outcomes.

WJCS Program Evaluation

Program evaluation uses the same systematic, scientific methodology to collect data as traditional, social research. Its primary purpose is to provide practical, constructive feedback that will inform the management and improvement of specific programs. Our evaluators work closely with program staff and other stakeholders to design and implement an assessment that addresses the unique needs of the program and can be feasibly executed.

Types of Program Evaluation

  • Needs Assessment—A needs assessment assesses the need for program services, and can be used to determine appropriate resource allocation and program development.
  • Formative Evaluation—A formative evaluation is most appropriate during the early stages of a program’s development, yielding valuable information regarding the optimal program conceptualization and design. 
  • Process Evaluation—A process evaluation provides an assessment of operations and services delivery, providing information on variables such as implementation fidelity, client engagement, client satisfaction, and effective program components.
  • Outcome Evaluation—An outcome, or summative, evaluation assesses the effectiveness of a program in producing specific, target outcomes.

WJCS incorporates all of the above to conduct evaluations for each of our programs; key indicators are tracked and analyzed to yield an enhanced understanding of program processes and outcomes. Some examples are listed below:

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)—Longitudinal analyses indicate that at-risk clients enrolled in DBT show decreased hospitalizations/ER visits and suicidality/self-harm behaviors over the course of several months of treatment.
  • Depression Screening and Treatment Project—A standardized workflow for ongoing depression screening using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) allows for an enhanced understanding of response to treatment in clients with clinically significant depression.
  • Early Step Forward/Building Better Beginnings—Analyses of 11 years of data on close to 10,000 children receiving specialized mental health consultation in Head Start and other childcare sites demonstrate improved social-emotional functioning.
  • Family Child Care Program—Observational rating scales completed before and after a targeted site visiting program measure improvements in the childcare environment across a number of domains.
  • Parent Child Center and ParentChild+—Observational rating scales completed before and after a targeted home visiting program measure improved parent-child engagement and school readiness skills.
  • Wiener Academy for Young Girls—Analyses of academic and social-emotional indicators for elementary and middle-school aged girls in an empowering after-school program indicate enhanced academic, social, and wellness skills.
  • Young People Achieve—Proprietary database tracks services delivered and key outcomes for this program serving pregnant and parenting teens in local high schools and documents impressive high school graduation rates and improvements in parenting knowledge, attitudes and skills.

Research Interns

There are a limited number of research internship opportunities at WJCS, for graduate and undergraduate students who demonstrate interest and skill in the area of research. To learn  more about research internship opportunities for academic credit, please send a cover letter and resume to Elana Spira If you would like to volunteer as a research assistant, please send a cover letter and resume to Alexandra Luciano at

Research Committee

WJCS requires that any research conducted at the agency, involving human subjects and/or their health related information, be approved before the research is begun. The Research Committee at WJCS reviews applications concerning research on human subjects or their protected health information when the subjects are WJCS clients and when the research is proposed by, affiliated with, conducted at the request of, or involves a WJCS department or program.

To guide you through the application process, we have developed the following screening tools and forms:

  1. Program Evaluation vs. Research Project
    To determine whether your proposed project falls into the category of program evaluation (which does not require research committee review)
    or research (which does require research committee review), please download Screening Tool A and submit to for approval.
  2. Appropriate Level of Review for Proposals
    To determine whether your proposed project meets criteria for a Basic Review or Full Review, please download and complete Screening Tool B.
  3. Basic Review Procedures
    If your responses on Screening Tool B support a Request for Exempt Status, please download and complete the Request for Exempt Status and Basic Review Form and submit to for approval.
  4. Full Review Procedures
    If your responses on Screening Tool B do not support a request for exempt status, please download and complete the Application for Review by the WJCS Research Committee and submit, with all requested documentation, to

Contact Elana G. Spira, PhD, director of research; 914-761-0600 x2234;

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