Friday, May 29, 2009

How Policymakers Can Focus on Results

Consider a quotation from General George S. Patton who famously said "Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." A recent blog post from the Results Leadership Group highlights this key element of Mark Friedman's Results Based Accountability, that it "is about starting with Ends and working backwards to a Means". As noted previously, is designed to help policymakers, and those who work with them, achieve long-term results for their state by using those results to guide policy, budget and program decisions especially during tight fiscal times.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How State Policymakers Can Use the Education Stimulus Funding to Support Long Term Goals

The New America Foundation's Education Policy Program released an issue brief, "Building a Solid Foundation: How States and School Districts Can Use Federal Stimulus Funds to Support Proficiency by Third Grade" which recommends that states use the stimulus funds
not only to maintain educational services and jobs during the current economic
downturn but also to institute lasting reforms that will yield ongoing gains in
student learning and help fuel America's long-term economic growth. [The report]
shows one of the most important ways that states and districts can do this is by
investing stimulus funds in PreK-3rd reforms to ensure that all students
establish a solid foundation of math, literacy, and social/emotional skills by
the end of third grade.
For policies and stimulus funding guidance to improve early academic success.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Report on the How the Economic Crisis will Impact the Well-being of the Nation's Children

The Foundation for Child Development has issued their annual report on the Child Well-being Index. The findings include
that the downturn will virtually undo all progress made in children's economic well-being since 1975. The significant decrease in this domain will also drag down the other domains of the CWI [social relationships, health, community connectedness and safety/behavior]. The impact will be especially severe for low-income children of color.
For policies to improve family economic success and child outcomes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Foreclosures Rise With Unemployment, What State Policymakers Can Do

The New York Times reported in "Job Losses Push Safer Mortgages to Foreclosure" that
in the latest phase of the nation’s real estate disaster, the locus of trouble
has shifted from subprime loans — those extended to home buyers with troubled
credit — to the far more numerous prime loans issued to those with decent
financial histories. With many economists anticipating that the unemployment
rate will rise into the double digits from its current 8.9 percent, foreclosures
are expected to accelerate. That could exacerbate bank losses, adding pressure
to the financial system and the broader economy.
For policies to reduce foreclosures.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Juvenile Justice Bill Tracking Database

Another new resource from the National Conference of State Legislatures, a database to track legislation on juvenile justice from around the country. The topics range from administration to detention to mental health. For policies to reduce juvenile detention.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Report on Racial Disparities in Juvenile Justice

The National Conference of State Legislatures has recently issued a report on the history of racial disproportionality in the juvenile justice system. Included in the report are examples of approaches and strategies employed by states and local jurisdictions to address this problem. For policies to reduce racial disparities and disproportionality.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stimulus Food Stamp Increases Boost State Economies reports that the stimulus food stamps are starting to be felt in state economies, with 32.5 million people receiving their first bonus in April.
“People who receive these benefits are hard-pressed and will spend any financial aid they receive very quickly,” said Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi. Every $1 spent on the food assistance program adds $1.73 to local economies because an uptick in food sales creates related jobs and further consumer spending.
For policies to increase food stamp participation.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Link Between Health and School Readiness

The Colorado Trust, the Build Initiative and the Child and Family Policy Center have issued a research brief that
describes research and practice that speaks to a much broader role for the health system in improving children’s healthy development and school readiness, and how policies can help ensure that young children receive preventive and developmental health care; establish links between child health, early learning, early intervention and family support systems; and improve the environments in which children live.
For policies to support the health of young children and improve school readiness.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Guide for States to Maximize Enrollment for Uninsured Children

The National Academy for State Health Policy has issued a new brief that

reviews literature and expert opinions to elaborate on seven strategies states can implement to maximize enrollment for uninsured children eligible for public coverage. From simplifying the enrollment process to implementing the latest technology and urging political leaders to make enrollment a priority, the report lays out key steps that states may consider when tackling the difficult issues of making sure the pathways for enrollment and renewal for all eligible children are as efficient as possible. The seven strategies states can pursue are:

  • Keeping enrollment and renewal procedures simple
  • Reaching out through community-based organizations and institutions
  • Using technology to coordinate programs and reduce administrative burdens
  • Changing agency culture to promote enrollment
  • Engaging leaders to champion the goal of enrolling children
  • Engaging partners to help reach enrollment goals
  • Using marketing to promote enrollment in public programs

For policies to maximize medicaid and SCHIP

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mini Grants for Communities to Apply for Stimulus Funding to Support Early Learning and Schools

Ready Kids, Ready Schools 2009 has announced planning grants to support community applications for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These are mini-grants up to $10,000, and the deadline is Friday, May 29, 2009. The purpose is to
prepare an application for an ARRA federal grant that would advance linking the early learning and public school systems to help vulnerable children 0-8 years.
For more information on policies to support early academic success.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Child Welfare State Policy Guide

Today CSSP announces a new Child Welfare State Policy Guide, available online, which presents research-informed policies for improving the safety, permanence, and well-being of children and families involved in the child welfare system. This user-friendly guide allows easy identification of state policies that promote strong families, supportive communities and effective systems, which are the key ingredients for preserving child safety and well-being in permanent homes. Too often, state policy fails to use what is known from practice and research about preserving or identifying permanent families for children and youth. This guide will allow policymakers to use research-informed policies to establish a broad and robust set of supports for children and families that promote permanence.

This resource is also part of a larger, results-based public policy approach that allows policymakers select the result they want to achieve, examine trend lines for their state, and choose the strategies for policy, and financing, to effectively achieve that result. For policymakers interested in safely increasing exits from foster care to permanence, CSSP’s Policy for Results website provides information on policies and financing approaches for reunification, adoption and guardianship.

Post contributed by Judith Meltzer, Deputy Director of the Center for the Study of Social Policy, who has led child welfare system reform through her role as the court-appointed monitor for multiple state child welfare systems involved in litigation over the past 20 years.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Preserving Families and Reducing Foster Care

Casey Family Programs recently issued a ten year retrospective of the research on Intensive Family Preservation Services, a program model developed to prevent unnecessary foster care placements. The report
reviews the main research findings over the past 30 years for intensive family preservation services with particular focus on the last decade and describes the methodological challenges that have been encountered. [It ends] with concrete recommendations as to how future research can advance the design and use of this model.
For policies to safely increase exits from foster care.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Federal Budget Requests for Early Education and K-3

The New America Foundation has a great blog post on the president's early education budget announced on Thursday and has published a new issue brief called the "Summary and Analysis of President Obama's Education Budget Request - Fiscal Year 2010," that summarizes the education budget including the K-12 request and the proposed cuts to Department of Education programs.

For K-3 policies and opportunities to maximize federal funding.

Monday, May 11, 2009

May is National Foster Care Month- What Can You Do?

Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced a resolution that was passed by the House last week declaring May National Foster Care Month:
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) supports the designation of a `National Foster Care Month';
(2) acknowledges the needs of children in the foster care system;
(3) honors the commitment and dedication of those individuals who work tirelessly to provide assistance and services to children in the foster care system; and
(4) recognizes the need to continue work to improve outcomes of all children in the foster care system through the title IV program in the Social Security Act and other programs that are designed to help children in the foster care system reunite with their biological parents and, when children are unable to return to their biological parents, to find them a permanent, safe, and loving home.
For a calendar of events in your area, and policies to support safe exits from foster care to permanent families.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Strategies for Policymakers to use the Stimulus to Support Job Training

The Center for Law and Social Policy has issued a new report called “Stimulus to System: Using the ARRA to Serve Disadvantaged Jobseekers” that looks at how states and local jurisdictions can connect low-skilled job seekers with training and placement services. It
explores models and mechanisms for achieving this goal--including community-benefit agreements, job linkage/first source hiring, and goals and standards for job creation and job quality--and for subsequently engaging jobseekers in further skill-building and educational programs.
For more policies and stimulus strategies to support job training.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

New Tool to Help State Policymakers Maximize Medicaid Resources

The Center for Health Care Strategies has just posted an important new resource on “Maximizing Quality and Value in Medicaid: Using Return on Investment Forecasting to Support Effective Policymaking”

Return on investment (ROI) analysis, which has been used in the private sector for decades to inform the allocation of limited resources, is a useful technique for supporting cost-effective policy decisions. Effective allocation of limited Medicaid resources is a policy imperative, and the use of ROI forecasting can ensure responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars in all economic climates. … The brief includes specific examples of how states are using ROI forecasts to support quality improvement efforts as well as resources for policymakers interested in using ROI forecasting, including CHCS' web-based ROI Forecasting Calculator for Quality Initiatives.

For policies to maximize federal dollars and returns on investment.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Early Care and Education Policies are also Sound Economic Policies

Progressive States Network has posted an important new resource “Early Education Investments: Economic Importance and Policy Implementation” that covers:

  • How the Recovery Plan Supports Child Care and Early Education Programs
  • Why Early Education is so Critical to Economic Growth and Equity
  • State Policies to Support Early Child Care
  • Striving for Universal Access to Pre-K
  • Assuring Quality in Early Education Programs- Design and Workplace Standards

For more on the economic benefits of policies that support quality early care and education.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Foundations Step Up to Help States Stem Home Foreclosures reports that the current economic downturn has foundations focusing investments on government priorities, community needs, and protecting services for children and families.

For example, a number of foundations have invested in reducing foreclosures, including The Ford Foundation "giving more than $8 million to that effort, including a $2 million grant to Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta to eliminate delays faced by homeowners in foreclosure. …In Washington State, corporations like Microsoft and Boeing are now partnering with the Seattle Foundation to raise $6 million over the next three years to provide comprehensive services to families in economic distress. In February, five agencies received grants of $250,000 each to stabilize housing through foreclosure counseling, to train families on how to stay out of debt, and to help people build toward long-term security.“We will continue to monitor changing needs and service gaps – as the impact of public stimulus funding begins to take hold, “ said Molly Stearns, senior vice president of the Seattle Foundation." For more information on strategies to reduce home foreclosures.

Using Results to Target Limited Resources

In a previous post, we talked about how tough fiscal times provide an important opportunity to focus investments on the results we want to achieve. is designed to help policymakers, and those who work with them, make effective budget decisions that will both protect the most vulnerable and achieve long-term results for their state. For more information on guidelines and strategies during tight budget times to set priorities, focus on results, and avoid short-term cuts that may devastate vulnerable children and families for the long-term.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

States Struggle with Stimulus Oversight Requirements's Pamela Prah writes about how states are struggling to manage the influx of stimulus funding. Citing a recent GAO report on how accountability is essential, she notes that while
"Stimulus money is going first to states’ health care and education programs to help forestall cuts in those programs and avoid layoffs of teachers and police officers. ... States are desperate for help from the Obama administration on how to meet the law’s numerous oversight requirements in spending stimulus dollars."
For guidance on using stimulus funding.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Another New Look at Poverty

A new report from the Institute for Research on Poverty that looks at three cross-cutting factors that shape the extent and nature of poverty and prospects for reducing poverty:
the changing role of race and ethnicity in the labor market and society; changing gender roles that influence both trends in labor force participation of women and patterns of family formation and childbearing; and the recent history of social welfare programs and policies. They conclude by recommending a set of high priority antipoverty policies.
For policies to reduce child poverty.