Support and Training for the Evaluation of Programs (STEPs)

Mission: To provide participatory, utilization-focused program evaluation to programs serving children, youth, and families in poverty.

University of Nebraska at Omaha, Grace Abbott School of Social Work


"I look forward to meetings with the STEPs program evaluation team! - it's always the pick-me-up meeting of the week!" ~Treva Haugaard, Executive Director, GOALS Center.

"The amount of time and effort does not go unnoticed. Thanks for helping our coaches and graduates be successful for years to come." ~Tiff Clifton, Coach, Creighton Financial Success Program.

"The evaluators did exactly what we asked. We then discovered how we wanted to change what we evaluated. We look forward to working with the evaluators in this realm." ~Nancy Liebermann, Executive Director, Phoenix Academy



We have a strong commitment and passion to help nonprofit organizations meet their mission. Through program evaluation, we partner with organizations to inform them about program delivery and outcomes, and to "tell the story" of what they do to stakeholders.

Our approach to program evaluation is participatory and utilization-focused. We bring the best of worlds together through partnering university resources with community organizations to create better systems of care for children, youth, and families in poverty. Meet our staff, learn how a typical program evaluation unfolds, and consider our related presentations and publications.

Contact us to schedule a free in-person consultation.

-- Jeanette (phone: 402-554-2893402-554-2893 email: jharder[at]unomaha[dot]edu)


Current Projects



Key Projects

"Better Together" with Heartland Family Service (Nebraska Families Collaborative) (U.S. ACYF discretionary grant, 3 year)

(On-site substance abuse treatment for child welfare involved families)
  • Quasi-experimental, 3-year study of program effectiveness
  • Process and outcome evaluation
  • Quantitative and qualitative elements

Avenue Scholars Foundation

"Ensure careers for students of hope and need through education and supportive relationships."
  • Process and outcome evaluation (multi-component)
  • Focus groups with youth
  • Role of community contexts and relationships

Nebraska CASA Association

"Recruit and train volunteers who speak in court for the safety and well-being of abused and neglected children."
  • Process and outcome evaluation
  • Judges' perceptions of Nebraska CASA
  • Identification of counties for program growth.

Financial Success Program (Financial Hope Collaborative at Creighton University; United Way of the Midlands)

Financial education program to create behavior change for low income single mothers.
  • Process and outcome evaluation

GOALS Center

"To address absenteeism and at-risk behavior through encouragement of coordinated efforts to improve student attendance and learning."
  • Process and outcome evaluation
  • Program evaluation training

Building Bright Futures

"Creating educational excellence and equity"
  • Facilitating discussion groups on school principal leadership, especially for poverty schools

Phoenix Academy

"Educate and inspire students with learning differences to realize their full academic potential and become successful in school and in life."
  • Analysis and report on math and reading scores.

Nebraska Children's Home Society

"Provide safe and loving care to children of all ages"
  • Evaluation of training for caretakers of children with special medical needs in the child welfare system

Civic Participation Grant, University of Nebraska at Omaha

  • Educating and determining needs of local nonprofits for process and outcome program evaluation

Bridge of Hope National

"Call and equip compassionate people from many Christian faith traditions to exemplify Christ's love to homeless women and children."
  • Program effectiveness in helping single mothers achieve family stability, permanent housing, and education/training.

Child abuse prevention in the faith community:

 Community-based research models for the classroom: