Monday, November 22, 2010

Four Lessons on Making and Sustaining Reform

Reclaiming Futures, an organization focused on teenagers caught in the cycle of drugs alcohol and crime, posted Reforming the Juvenile Justice System – Four Lessons from an Expert. The blog post, on Reclaiming Futures Every Day, is the product of an interview with Bart Lubow, director of Programs for High Risk Youth at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The four lessons, provided in detail in the linked post are:

  • Lesson #1: Be Specific About What You’re Changing
  • Lesson #2: Tell Your Staff and Partners What You’re Doing and Why
  • Lesson #3: Keeping it Going – It Ain’t About the Money
  • Lesson #4: In Lean Times, Support What Works, Not the Status Quo

This post is specifically in reference to Juvenile Justice Reform; however the same lessons are applicable to other policy and practice reform efforts.

For a framework on reforming and sustaining policy change.

For more on reducing juvenile detention.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Investing in Community Colleges

CLASP’s Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success recently released a report addressing the importance of community college for low-income students. The report, Getting What We Pay For: State Community College Funding Strategies that Benefit Low-Income, Lower-Skilled Students, provides an overview of the way community colleges are currently funded as well as recommends promising state funding strategies.

The importance of community colleges in training and educating the American workforce was demonstrated during the recession and is expected to grow in the future. For details on the increasingly important role of community colleges please read, Community Colleges: Developing a Skilled Workforce for the Future, from our Financing Community Change blog.

Visit our homepage to sign-up for e-mail updates on results-based policy for increasing college completion - coming soon!

See The Joyce Foundation's Shifting Gears Initiative for more information on the economic importance of matching worker skills with employer needs.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jobs, Economic Growth and an Educated Workforce for the Future: A Fact Sheet Series for Policymakers

Forging a policy agenda to rebuild a state’s economic health demands investing in two generations: working parents and their children. Safeguarding economic success into the future requires providing the current workforce with the skills they need to increase their employability, while promoting opportunities for the healthy development and education of their children. To accomplish this, research supports a strategy that focuses on three interlinked priorities: education, employment and reducing barriers to jobs.

Preparing the next generation of workers requires a cross-cutting approach that stresses reducing unplanned pregnancies, providing high quality early care and education and home visiting services, assuring grade level reading and creating pathways to post-secondary education and jobs, focusing on vulnerable populations and strengthening families.

The 2010 elections bring historic changes in government and a window of opportunity to reshape public policy, focus on critical issues and achieve results for children and families. This series of policy briefs provides guidance to state policymakers that is grounded in research and based on today’s economic realities. The series presents a range of proven, cost-effective policy approaches.

Monday, November 8, 2010

California’s Child Welfare Performance Indicators Project

The California Department of Social Services and the University of California at Berkley’s Center for Social Service Research collaborated on the Child Welfare Dynamic Report System a part of the California Child Welfare Performance Indicators Project. The Child Welfare Dynamic Report System (which is available for use by the public) allows users to query a number of child-welfare relevant topics and create reports. Users can disaggregate the data by a number of categories (including race, age, gender and placement type), and can view data as “point-in time” or configure it to do longitudinal analysis. Examples of the data available on the site include:
  • Reentry following reunification
  • Placement stability
  • ICWA placement preferences
  • Timely health/dental exams
  • Authorized for psychotropic medications
For states considering creating or expanding their child welfare database(s), this is a great example. It includes a significant amount of important information on child welfare in the state and in individual counties.
For more on the importance of state data.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Family Stability and Outcomes for Children

The newest edition of The Future of Children, a collaboration between Princeton and the Brookings Institution, is titled Fragile Families. The work defines fragile families as: couples who are unmarried at the time that their children are born. The findings presented in this edition are based on the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) conducted by Princeton and Columbia Universities. The articles in this edition all address three broad research areas:

  • The capabilities of the parents, their relationships with each other and with their children, and how both change over time.
  • How being raised in fragile families affects the well-being of children.
  • Whether the ongoing trend toward forming fragile families should be of concern to researchers and policy makers, and if so, what the role of policy should be in solving any problems posed.

Whether or not a family is considered “fragile” and what the definition and consequences of that are, is something that might elicit debate. However, when making policy decisions that impact children and families, it is always important to consider the research being done and the suggested solutions that come from that work.

For more on What Works.