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Implementation & Accountability

Reduce Child Poverty

Implementation & Accountability

Implementation

Because of the variety in proven interventions, states and communities have leeway to find programs that suit local values, opportunities and budgets. The key is to select strategies that have documented effectiveness, assure that they are implemented well and recognize the critical importance of a strong commitment to continuous program improvement.

  • Match expectations with sufficient resources.  Be clear about the goals, purpose and target audience for specific programs.  Provide sufficient resources to ensure fidelity to the evidence-based model or modify expectations to accommodate variances.
  • Identifying barriers.  Effective policy development requires the identification of factors that may impede effective implementation.
  • Make provisions for broad-based input.  When involvement will increase the likelihood that the needs of children and families are being met by the policy, engage community stakeholders (children and youth, parents, schools, service providers, faith leaders and community groups) in implementation.
  • Support local capacity and communication. Provide technical assistance, monitoring and oversight to local programs and agencies.  Create opportunities for local-to-local communication, best practice sharing and local input on state policy decisions.
  • Support ongoing evaluation and continuous program improvement.

Connecticut established the Child Poverty and Prevention Council to develop and promote the implementation of a ten-year plan to reduce the number of children living in poverty in the state by 50 percent, establish prevention goals and recommendations, and measure prevention service outcomes. Additionally, in 2009, Connecticut’s House Speaker formed the Speaker’s Task Force on Children in the Recession, a legislative taskforce charged with overseeing state efforts to meet the needs of low-income children and make this progress known to agency administrators, legislators, and the public.

Accountability

Evaluation is essential for successful policy implementation and to ensure intended outcomes.  Accountability requires determining whether programs are implemented correctly, the right programs and strategies are used, progress is measured appropriately and children and families are benefiting.  This is established through both monitoring results (what we are trying to accomplish) and monitoring performance (how we tried to accomplish it).

  • Monitoring Results.  Through data, other information and consultation, it is possible to determine if the results we set out to achieve for children and families have been attained.  By reexamining the selected indicators we can measure our progress toward the desired result.
  • Monitoring Performance.  Oversight requires policy-makers to determine if policy objectives have been achieved by focusing attention on the performance of specific programs or agencies. This involves reviewing individual programs and their impact on the lives of the people the program is designed to serve.
  • Assign responsibility for realistic outcomes.  Responsibility for outcomes should be designated based on the appropriate roles, resources and capacity of public and private stakeholders. 
  • Establish oversight bodies that consistently review key actions by state agencies.
  • Measure and report progress to stakeholders and the community.  Require public availability of data to allow administrators, policymakers and the public to measure the state’s progress on key outcomes.

Created in 2007, the Vermont Child Poverty Council (VCPC) is a subcommittee of the Vermont state legislature tasked with reducing child poverty by fifty percent by the year 2017. Because of the unique characteristics of those in poverty in Vermont, the VCPC created a broad range of benchmarks to comprehensively measure progress toward reducing child poverty. Data are gathered through partnerships between the VCPC and non-governmental organization through the state. The VCPC works with the Rockefeller Center of Dartmouth College to evaluate and improve data tracking and accountability measures, as well as to publicize its progress toward its target.

question

1. Are we consulting with appropriate experts, advocates and constituents?

2. Are we ensuring that families being consulted and that their views and experiences are being considered?

resource

A checklist of questions to ask in order to improve accountability and monitoring.

resource

A checklist of questions to ask in order to increase the likelihood of successful implementation.