Overview of the APS Logic Model
Over the past several decades, state and local initiatives developed APS programs without a national framework or a national consensus about what adult maltreatment is, and what role government should have to assist victims. Lacking a unifying national framework, APS programs developed with variation in most aspects of programming and service delivery. A recent initiative of ACL, the Guidelines, is a step toward greater consistency among programs, but its impact has not yet been fully achieved.
The professional literature also reflects this lack of uniformity. An existing theoretical framework for conducting an evaluation was not identified by the APS TARC in preparing the evaluation plan. Consequently, one of the first tasks of the APS TARC was to develop a logic model to provide a theoretical framework for the evaluation. The APS Logic Model was drafted by the APS TARC and was reviewed informally by several APS administrators and the co-chair of the NAPSA-NCPEA research committee. Their comments were incorporated into the current model.
In developing the APS Logic Model, the APS TARC consulted a case flow diagram developed by NAPSA. This case flow diagram portrays the major activities undertaken by APS agencies when investigating an allegation of maltreatment. It shows the characteristic steps in an APS investigation, beginning with the intake report and concluding with case closure. It includes both the investigation and service delivery activities.
The APS Logic Model elaborates upon this case flow and identifies results of standard APS activities, as well as the context under which these activities occur. The APS Logic Model is a one-page depiction of the following elements of APS programs: context, inputs/resources, activities, activity metrics, and results. Activities, activity metrics, and results are divided into the typical case flow of intake (also often called prescreening), investigation, and post-investigation services. Quality assurance is also included and is comprised of a number of activities (e.g., documentation and supervisory review) that are critical aspects of APS programs.
The following description and assumptions explain the APS Logic Model:
The model is focused primarily on APS client services. It does not include other program activities such as public awareness campaigns or budget planning. The chart includes elements related to APS investigations of providers or facilities, but is not an exhaustive list of potential provider investigation activities conducted by some APS programs or licensing and regulatory agencies.
The chart shows the typical stages of an APS case in the activities, activity metrics, and results columns. The overall case stages are from the top of the column to the bottom. It is recognized that actual activities, depending on the program and case, may occur in different boxes than shown. For example, case initiation activities in some programs may be performed as part of intake and not as part of the investigation.
The model represents an overall depiction of elements of APS programs, but no program is expected to include all elements. Specific state processes will differ. For example, some APS programs only investigate allegations and do not provide services. Policies may differ across jurisdictions regarding an alleged victim’s right to refuse an investigation or services. Some APS programs have funding to purchase services for victims as part of their program budgets, while many do not or the funding may be insufficient. Long term post-investigation management of guardianship cases is not included in this model. Consultative experts can be internal or external to a program.
The listed activity metrics are associated with the activities column and are not a comprehensive list of potential metrics for APS programs. The results column does not list “outcomes” or “impact,” which are often included in logic models; instead, it more definitively and concretely lists results of the items in the activities column.
Finally, the chart is generally consistent with the Guidelines and with terminology used in NAMRS.
The APS Logic Model provides a framework for identifying potential evaluation research questions, which are discussed in the following section.
Several acronyms are used throughout the logic model: ANE=abuse, neglect, exploitation; AV=alleged victims; CV=confirmed victims; AP=alleged perpetrator; MDT=multi-disciplinary team