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Bauman, Karl E. & Coulter, Martie (1976). Design and Test of a System for Tracking Referrals. Public Health Reports, 91(6), 521-525. PMCID: PMC1440584


Many health and welfare programs are based on a model in which services needed by consumers are identified by one agency with referral to others for provision of services. The referring agency often does not know whether the services recommended are received, yet it is assumed that receipt of those services by their clients is essential to achievement of program goals. A procedure was devised for tracking families evaluated by North Carolina's State-supported developmental evaluation centers (DECs), agencies that reflect this model. The multidisciplinary evaluation teams of these centers serve children and their families of all income levels. The developmental evaluation family tracking system is a method for determining if recommended services are received, the reasons why they are not, and whether the family desires additional help from the center or othersources. The system was piloted in the Greensboro DEC with a selected group of 67 families. Parents were contacted, mostly by telephone, at 6 months and 18 months following evaluation. Tracking forms were completed for 61 families. Professional staff spent only 2.7% of their working hours during a 3-month period on direct tracking activities and other tasks in behalf of the consumers contacted. The cost was $7.15 per case for immediate tracking and $14.49 if additional activities generated by the tracking contact were included. The system, which provides the information necessary for achieving program goals, was implemented for all 11 DECs in North Carolina in 1976.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Public Health Reports


Bauman, Karl E.
Coulter, Martie