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About Results-Based Policy

CSSP aims to influence policy so that there is a clear focus on results to improve key aspects of child, family and community well-being. 


CSSP has identified policy priorities, objectives and strategies that have the greatest potential to serve as a catalyst to promote child and family well-being, advance equity, improve public systems and strengthen communities. The goal of all our work is focused on ensuring that:

While public policy may often be formed as a reasoned and rational response to a societal problem, it is too often developed as a reaction to a crisis or to avoid bad outcomes. PolicyforResults is designed to help communities and their leaders make thoughtful decisions by providing concrete, research-informed and results-focused policy solutions, including data, strategies and concrete funding options.

We believe that meaningful policy requires a focus on those who face the most significant barriers to opportunity, including ethnic and racial minorities, immigrants and refugees, families in poverty and families in contact with intervening public systems (e.g. – child welfare, juvenile justice). Our work is focused on positively impacting outcomes for multiple generations - both parents and their children.

Policy at the state level has a significant - and increasingly important - impact on the lives of children and families. However, state policies are frequently enacted in a piece-meal fashion, with legislative committees or state agencies focused on a single policy area. As a result, this approach often leads to fragmented policies that fail to achieve the intended improvements for children, families and communities. Addressing child care in isolation from employment, for example, or education separate from health can lead to policy that fails to take into account the interconnectedness of these issues for families.  Worse, disjointed policy efforts have brought about conflicting mandates and requirements that may undermine the goal of improving the lives of children and families.

Results-Based Public Policy is a way of aligning efforts around a shared goal. Doing so improves the odds that the needs of children, families and communities will be addressed effectively. It allows policymakers to be more deliberate in the formation of solutions and places policy within a larger context that requires establishing meaningful partnerships and engaging key stakeholders – all of whom work together to measurably improve the lives of children and families.

Quite simply, Results-Based Public Policy uses desired outcomes to drive actions to address a particular issue. This decision-making process for developing public policy starts with a clearly articulated desired result or outcome to be achieved. It then assesses current circumstances, uses proven policy options that have demonstrated success and evaluates progress through data and performance measures.


PolicyforResults provides policymakers with research-informed policy solutions and state examples. Each policy section begins with asking the question, “What results do you want to achieve?” and provides guidance for setting priorities and establishing indicators. Each policy topic on the website includes policy-specific information on:


“This website is the dream of people who want to change the culture of state government.”
-Steve Rauschenberger, Former Illinois State Senator, Former President, National Conference of State Legislatures