Friday, February 20, 2009

Welcome to the Blog

This Blog will showcase issues important to our users and provide an opportunity for you to share ideas, achievements and questions with your colleagues nationwide, and with us.

Introducing the website: State policymakers too often lack sufficient guidance to identify the most effective strategies that achieve measurable improvements in the lives of children and families. This interactive website provides state policymakers and those who influence them with a common-sense approach for:

Identifying and disseminating results-oriented policies with evidence of effectiveness;

Helping governors, state legislators and other state policymakers decide what works best for their states to achieve results;

Using data to monitor child and family well-being and inform policy decisions, and

Providing guidance on effective fiscal policies to protect vulnerable families, especially in the current period of greatly reduced state budgets.

Phase I will include the following content:

Strategies for Tight Budget Times: Guidance for states on strategies to protect vulnerable children and assist families in difficult economic times.

Policy Strategies: Proven policy options for achieving goals key to child and family well-being, including: Creating Economic Opportunity for Families and Reducing Poverty; Improving Early School Success and Grade-Level Reading, Achieving Permanent and Lifelong Homes for Children; and Reducing Juvenile Detention. Policy initiatives in these four areas form Phase I of the site and other policy goals will be added in coming months.

Data: User-generated trend data charts on specific state-by-state measures, as well as comparisons to other states or national data.

Tools: Self-assessments, check lists, printable summaries or diagnostic tools, and other help for users of the site.

Videos: Featuring prominent policymakers and effective policies throughout the website.

Phases II and III. Feedback from you, our users, stress the importance of continuing to add content rapidly in successive phases. States will have previously implemented different policy options, which requires the website to present a range of options in Phases II and III in order to have broad relevance. These phases will begin immediately after the launch and continue through 2009 to include content identified by you.