Til god hjelp for mange. Evaluering av Losprosjektet
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In this report results from NOVA’s evaluation of “The Pilot Project” (Losprosjektet) is presented. This was a three-year project in 15 municipalities all over the country, initiated by the Ministry of Children, Equality and Inclusion in 2011. The Ministry commissioned this evaluation. The target group for Losprosjektet was young people aged 14-23 who are at risk of dropping out of school or work, and who need help from more than one service. Through the project the young persons were to have one person, or pilot, to relate to who would provide close and personal follow-up, and who helped him or her to make use of services offered by the school or others. Thus, Losprosjektet has been part of a series of recent projects and services aimed at potentially or already marginalized youth, motivated by the serious societal and individual consequences we see today of not completing high school. The focus on individualized and close follow-up, which was a central part of the project, was chosen on the basis of results from prior research. Altogether just above 400 young people participated in the project during these three years, of whom more than half were between 16 and 19 years of age and should have attended high school. However some variation existed between the municipalities at this point. Twenty-five pilots have been involved, slightly above half in full-time employment and the rest in shared positions. They have been associated with different part of the municipal services, varying between the child welfare services, services for children and young people, school-related services and others. The evaluation addressed issues at the individual, systems and societal levels. At the individual level focus has naturally been on how the pilots have been doing their work and the kind of results achieved by the young people. Within a short time-frame we estimatet hat 68 per cent of the young people had improved their situation while they participated in the project. This is measured by the number who were attending school when the project ended, and how many who were employed or attended projects supposed to lead to employment. In addition the pilots gave their assessments of whether the young persons had improved their situation more generally. Here, we were provided with examples for instance showing improved self-esteem, reduced mental health problems, an improved relationship to the young people’s parents, improved school attendance, improved motivation for homework, etc. At the systems level we found positive results pertaining to the individual. In general the pilots functioned as what might be called front-line workers, and collaborated actively with several services within and outside of the schools and school-related services. Mainly the pilots thought that others received them in a positive way, that they were respected because of the close relationship they developed to the young people, and that constructive collaboration was developed on a single case basis. Some reported on positive collaboration more generally, but it is not realistic to expect that large changes in the structure of municipal services is possible to achieve within the constraints of a project like Losprosjektet. With regards to results at the societal level it is important to underline that the evaluation did not last long enough to enable us to answer the question of long-term results, which, for the majority of the participants, was to complete high school. This is primarily due to two factors. First, many of the participants were too young to make this possible at the start of the projects. Second, we know that many of the young people in our target group will use more time than the norm to achieve this result. Then, different conditions, that is different models portraying what happens meanwhile, gives different answers to the question of how many participants who will need to complete high school for the project to make a profit from an economic point of view. We formulated five different cases, and the analyses showed that at least 22 to 38 per cent of those now attending school will need to complete high school for the project to show a profit. The fifth case was the most demanding, and presupposed a completion rate of 64 per cent. In addition the evaluation shows that to a large extent, the pilots followed the premises formulated by the ministry. This created a large degree of tailored efforts, flexibility and variation with regard to the ongoing work with the young people. And although most of the participants had long-term goals of completing high school or becoming employed, their short-term goals were far more varied. To a large extent, the approaches used by the pilots enabled them to help the young people achieving their short-term goals. The evaluation used a complex design, with data from several sources. The young people who participated in the evaluation answered a questionnaire about themselves and their situation and expectations when they started attending the project. The pilots answered a questionanire about their background and expectations. During the project the pilots have repeatedly filled in reports about the development of the young people, as well as a final report when the project ended. In addition the pilots were interviewed twice, and the evaluators have had access to the reports made by the pilots to the ministry in 2013 and 2014. The contents of the report The report consists of seven chapters. The first chapter describes the background of the project and the research issues addressed, as well as the contents of the report. Chapter 2 presents the theoretical foundation of the evaluation. In particular we focus on two perspectives: Knowledge about marginalization and marginalization processes among young people, and studies of effects of mentoring on young people at risk. Chapter 3 describes how the evaluation was done, and discusses limitations of the results. In addition we discuss a theoretical approach to the evaluation, namely so-called critical realism, which focuses particularly on why and how results occur rather than their effects per se. The three empirical chapters, chapter 4-6, address the objectives of the evaluation at the individual, systems- and societal levels. Results for the young people are presented in chapter 4, and the work of the pilots is the foundation for the presentation of results at the systems level in chapter 5. In chapter 6 we present an economical analysis, showing how different conditions for completing high school leads to different results with regard to the rate of completion of high school which is necessary for Losprosjektet to be profitable economically. In the final chapter we discuss the results as a whole and suggest further follow-up and research.I denne rapporten presenteres resultater fra evalueringen av Losprosjektet, et treårig utviklingsprosjekt i regi av Barne-, likestillings- og inkluderingsdepartementet som foregikk i 15 kommuner spredt over hele landet. Målgruppa var unge som sto i fare for å falle eller hadde falt ut av skole og arbeid, og den langsiktige målsettingen var å få de vel 400 deltakerne på rett spor. Evalueringen viste gode resultater på kort sikt, i det 68 prosent av deltakerne var i skole (de fleste) eller arbeid da prosjektet ble avsluttet. Vi kan ikke få oversikt over hvor mange som på sikt fullfører videregående skole, før det er gått mer tid. En samfunnsøkonomisk analyse basert på ulike case viser hvor store andeler som må ha fullført videregående skole for at prosjektet skal gå i pluss. Barne-, likestillings- og inkluderingsdepartementet har finansiert prosjektet.