Fairbridge Bindjareb Project Evaluation
The Fairbridge Bindjareb Project (FBP) is a collaboration between Bis Industries, Fairbridge Western Australia Inc. and the Government of Western Australia Department of Corrective Services (DCS). It exists to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people currently engaged in the criminal justice system with industry training in a supportive environment that leads to guaranteed jobs and real careers in the mining industry. In turn, it is anticipated that involvement in the FBP will also lead to positive sustainable change in participant’s lives and the lives of their families, and role modelling of those changes for future generations.
An initial review (in press) of existing project records suggests that since commencing in 2010, the FBP has had a positive impact on participant outcomes. To confirm these findings, a systematic long term program evaluation is now being implemented.
The FBP evaluation will employ a mixed methodology, including interviews, baseline and follow-up surveys, current best practice literature review, and systematic analysis of project documentation to:
- assess the extent to which the FBP is meeting its objectives
- identify any unintended outcomes or consequences of the FBP
- identify opportunities for improving the current service delivery model
- contribute to the existing evidence base on services that aim to support positive social and employment change for Indigenous people who are involved with the criminal justice system
Specifically, the evaluation will seek to answer the following questions (and sub-questions):
- How relevant is the design and delivery model of the FBP?
- How effective is the program in engaging target participants and maintaining engagement?
- How effective is the program in meeting participant training, life skills development and support needs?
- How effective is the program in improving participants’ outcomes?
In terms of participant outcomes, the evaluation will focus on those articulated through the FBP theory of change (Figure 1). The FBP theory of change was developed in collaboration with the program staff, partners and stakeholders and shows how program activities contribute to short term outcomes, which in turn contribute to medium term outcomes and eventually longer term outcomes.
Bindjareb Project Theory of Change
The Fairbridge FAIR (Fellowship, Awareness, Inclusion and Relaxation) program aims to increase social inclusion and support for families of children with disabilities through the provision of regular weekends away, including opportunities for shared learning, relaxation, fun, and network development. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the program is particularly effective in break-downing social barriers between people with disabilities and other individuals, decreasing the stigma associated with having a disability or caring for someone who does, and creating opportunities for people with disabilities to develop new life skills and talents.
The Fairbridge Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) evaluation of the FAIR program aims to empirically assess the extent to which the program is:
- achieving its objectives
- contributing to improved outcomes for families of children with disabilities
- contributing to community change, including increased inclusion of and support for people with disabilities
- identify the mechanisms through which program impact is achieved
As a first step in this process, the CSI is working with FAIR clients, staff and stakeholders to develop a program logic and theory of change. The CSI is also considering the degree to which FAIR program activities conform to current best practice literature, and using current best practice literature to identify opportunities for program development.
Once developed, the FAIR theory of change will be used to identify instruments and develop methods for collecting FAIR outcomes data over the longer term.