Sarah Todd is a professor in the School of Social Work at Carleton. She teaches in the areas of social work practice, pedagogy, and community development and engages in a range of research projects focused on social work education and community practice. In 2019 she has two edited collections coming out, one a Springer publication on social work and social development and the other focusing on Canadian approaches to community work.
Sarah is currently wrapping up a SSHRC funded project, entitled Tracking Digital Declarations. The project explored digital tools for documenting attendance and immediate outcomes at youth centres be shared with funders, stakeholders and researchers. Together with technology partner Distill Mobile, the national organization Youth Centres Canada and six grassroots youth centres, engaged in a participatory approach to understanding who uses youth centre programs and to establish tools to link sign in data to participation patterns and program impacts.
Like the rest of the grassroots sector, youth centres lack secure and sustainable funding and are continually asked to do more with less. Funding agencies and governments have largely moved away from multi-year core funding to short term project funding. This has increased the precariousness of these organizations and has resulted in increased numbers of part-time contract employees with low wages and few, if any, benefits. These funding conditions limit the capacity of youth centres to collect, clean and analyze the data necessary to document who is using their services, track the patterns of program usage and share these findings with funders, governmental stakeholders and academics.
Sarah was also the Eastern Ontario Hub leader of YouthREX, a program funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The program’s mission is to make research evidence and evaluation accessible and relevant to Ontario’s youth sector through knowledge mobilization, capacity building and evaluation leadership. The Eastern Ontario Hub supported grassroots youth organizations in developing theories of change and provided customized evaluation supports.