(a) Statement of purpose; standards; persons eligible to conduct evaluations For the purpose of improving program management and effectiveness, the Secretary, in consultation with the Commissioner, shall evaluate all the programs authorized by this chapter, their general effectiveness in relation to their cost, their impact on related programs, and their structure and mechanisms for delivery of services, using appropriate methodology and evaluative research designs. The Secretary shall establish and use standards for the evaluations required by this subsection.
Such an evaluation shall be conducted by a person not immediately involved in the administration of the program evaluated.
(b) Opinions of program and project participants In carrying out evaluations under this section, the Secretary shall obtain the opinions of program and project participants about the strengths and weaknesses of the programs and projects.
(c) Data as property of United States The Secretary shall take the necessary action to assure that all studies, evaluations, proposals, and data produced or developed with Federal funds under this chapter shall become the property of the United States.
(d) Information from other departments and agencies Such information as the Secretary may determine to be necessary for purposes of the evaluations conducted under this section shall be made available upon request of the Secretary, by the departments and agencies of the executive branch.
(e) Longitudinal study (1) To assess the linkages between vocational rehabilitation services and economic and noneconomic outcomes, the Secretary shall continue to conduct a longitudinal study of a national sample of applicants for the services.
(2) The study shall address factors related to attrition and completion of the program through which the services are provided and factors within and outside the program affecting results.
Appropriate comparisons shall be used to contrast the experiences of similar persons who do not obtain the services.
(3) The study shall be planned to cover the period beginning on the application of individuals with disabilities for the services, through the eligibility determination and provision of services for the individuals, and a further period of not less than 2 years after the termination of services.
(f) Information on exemplary practices (1) The Commissioner shall identify and disseminate information on exemplary practices concerning vocational rehabilitation.
(2) To facilitate compliance with paragraph (1), the Commissioner shall conduct studies and analyses that identify exemplary practices concerning vocational rehabilitation, including studies in areas relating to providing informed choice in the rehabilitation process, promoting consumer satisfaction, promoting job placement and retention, providing supported employment, providing services to particular disability populations, financing personal assistance services, providing assistive technology devices and assistive technology services, entering into cooperative agreements, establishing standards and certification for community rehabilitation programs, converting from nonintegrated to integrated employment, and providing caseload management.
(g) Authorization of appropriations There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary.
(Pub. L. 93-112, Sec. 14, formerly Sec. 12, as added Pub. L. 105-220, title IV, Sec. 403, Aug. 7, 1998, 112 Stat. 1110; renumbered Sec. 14, Pub. L. 105-277, div. A, Sec. 101(f) (title VIII, Sec. 402(a)(1)), Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681-337,