Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Aspen Institute reports on an initiative from the Office of Early Childhood in Connecticut that measures the outcomes of home visitations and bases rewards based on positive results.
• What can other programs across the country learn from this example? One is that metrics are essential when it comes to helping families in the field of early childhood development.
Many policies and programs in the United States target either children or their parents. Few keep the whole family in focus, and even fewer have mastered the complex task of measuring outcomes for families. This month, the state of Connecticut took a big step forward when its Office of Early Childhood announced a new way measure when positive outcomes are achieved for families enrolled in voluntary home visitation services, and how to provide additional financial incentives for the service provider. This groundbreaking pilot initiative — the first in the nation of its kind — will reward positive outcomes for evidence-based home visitation.
Following recommendations from Ascend at the Aspen Institute for measuring outcomes for children and parents, the Office of Early Childhood designed a set of whole-family, or two-generational (also known as 2Gen) outcomes measures representing key family goals that also generate value for Connecticut.
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Specific outcomes measures include:
- Healthy birth: Avoidance of pre-term birth which presents both immediate long-term risks for children and costs for government;
- Safe children: Avoidance of emergency room visits as well as substantiated child-maltreatment which drive childhood trauma, negative health impacts, and child welfare system involvement;
- Family stability: For highest risk families, the achievement of key, measurable stability goals including attaining child care, health care (such as treatment for maternal depression), and housing for homeless or unstably housed families; and
- Caregiver employment: Achievement of attaining and maintaining a job or enrolling in and completing proven education or training programs, thereby advancing family economic stability and success while reducing dependence on safety net programs.
Referred to as a rate card, this effort allows government to define a menu of outcomes it wishes to “purchase” and the amount it is willing to pay each time a given outcome is achieved.
Read more about reinventing the way we measure family outcomes by David Wilkinson and Roxane White at the Aspen Institute.
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