Reinventing the Way We Measure Family Outcomes (Aspen Institute)

Many policies and programs in the United States target either children or their parents. Few keep the whole family in focus, and even fewer have mastered the complex task of measuring outcomes for families. This month, the state of Connecticut took a big step forward when its Office of Early Childhood announced a new way to measure when positive outcomes are achieved for families enrolled in voluntary home visitation services, and how to provide additional financial incentives for the service provider. This groundbreaking pilot initiative – the first in the nation of its kind – will reward positive outcomes for evidence-based home visitation services, from reduced child welfare involvement to increased parental employment.

Read More

New federal budget package has big wins for kids (Institute for Child Success)

Over the last several days, Congress completed some important work for America’s young children.  That news was overshadowed in major news outlets by the controversies around the spending bill, DACA, and a government shutdown.  But as part of that broader bill, Congressional leadership included six components that are aimed at seriously improving outcomes for kids.

Read More

Home Visiting Extension Authorizes Pay-for-Outcomes Transactions (Social Innovation Research Center)

By Patrick Lester

Legislation that would extend the federal home visiting program for another five years, which was included in a final budget bill that was passed by Congress earlier today, also includes provisions that would authorize the use of pay-for-outcomes transactions in the program.

The extension of the Maternal, Infant, & Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program was included in the final version of the bill. The pay-for-outcomes provisions are in Section 50605 of the MIECHV section of the law.

The provisions are optional, but if they are used they must meet the following requirements:

(4) Pay for outcomes initiative.–The term `pay for outcomes initiative’ means a performance-based grant, contract, cooperative agreement, or other agreement awarded by a public entity in which a commitment is made to pay for improved outcomes achieved as a result of the intervention that result in social benefit and direct cost savings or cost avoidance to the public sector. Such an initiative shall include–

(A) a feasibility study that describes how the proposed intervention is based on evidence of effectiveness;

(B) a rigorous, third-party evaluation that uses experimental or quasi-experimental design or other research methodologies that allow for the strongest possible causal inferences to determine whether the initiative has met its proposed outcomes as a result of the intervention;

(C) an annual, publicly available report on the progress of the initiative; and

(D) a requirement that payments are made to the recipient of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement only when agreed upon outcomes are achieved, except that this requirement shall not apply with respect to payments to a third party conducting the evaluation described in subparagraph (B).

The provisions would reauthorize MIECHV through 2022. The program technically expired late last year, which has reportedly caused some states to freeze new enrollments. The program is one of a handful of federal initiatives that are evidence-based.

America Forward Applauds Passage of Pay for Success and Evidence-Based Policies Included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (America Forward)

Members of the America Forward Coalition issued the following statement on the U.S. Congress’ passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 on Friday, February 9, 2018:

“Members of the America Forward Coalition applaud the U.S. Congress for including and approving critical Pay for Success and evidence-based provisions as a part of H.R. 1892 as amended by S. 1930, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. These provisions, which include reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program and the Family First Prevention Services Act and Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act, all focus on results through innovation, evaluation, and the use of evidence to drive funding decisions. Each of these programs emphasizes and resources interventions that are outcomes-driven and evidence-based. Additionally, we are pleased with the support for the use of Pay for Success/Pay for Outcomes contracting in the bill, which will bring a greater focus on outcomes and evidence across social programs. We commend Congressional leaders for their efforts and leadership to support evidence-based policies such as those included in this bill.”

The America Forward Coalition is a network of more than 70 social innovation organizations that champion innovative, effective, and efficient solutions to our country’s most pressing social problems. Our Coalition members are achieving measurable outcomes in more than 14,500 communities nationwide, touching the lives of 8 million Americans each year, and driving progress in education, workforce development, early learning, poverty alleviation, public health, Pay for Success, social innovation, national service, and criminal justice reform.  Since 2007, America Forward’s community of innovators has played a leading role in driving the national dialogue on social innovation and advocating for lasting policy change. 

To learn more about America Forward, please visit and follow us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

One Month of Spending, Years of Child Welfare Reform (The Chronical of Social Change)

The continuing resolution (CR) signed by President Donald Trump this morning funds the government until March 23. But it changed the landscape of federal child welfare funding for the foreseeable future.

Here is Youth Services Insider’s breakdown of the many long-term implications for youth and family services in the spending bill.

Read More

Senators Introduce Home Visiting Bill Without State Match Requirement (Chronicle of Social Change)

The Senate bill introduced today does not increase the authorization for MIECHV, and includes similar provisions to the House bill on measuring impact and including pay-for-success strategies. But unlike the House bill, it does not require states to match MIECHV funds at all.

Read More

Senate introduces legislation to reauthorize home visiting program (National Association of Counties)

While the Senate bill does adopt several provisions from the House version, such as needs assessment and pay-for-success strategies, it does not include the provision that would require states to match the grant dollar for dollar to remain eligible for MIECHV funding. The matching funds requirement in the House bill could be risky for tribal communities and many other states that are already under tight budgetary restraints.

Read More

Raising awareness about maternal health worldwide on National Bump Day (The Hill)

We see a clear opportunity for Congress to take action in the fight against preventable maternal and child deaths. The bipartisan Reach Every Mother and Child Act was recently reintroduced by Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Chris Coons of Delaware. This legislation would strengthen U.S. government efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and young children. Taking lessons learned from past initiatives, such as the successful President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Reach Act would provide the focus and tools necessary to improve the health and wellbeing of the hardest to reach mothers and children and create a more stable world.

It would also provide the U.S. Agency for International Development with greater flexibility to use “pay-for-success” financing models, where foreign aid is primarily used for programs that produce results. This financing model both protects U.S. taxpayers from ineffective and inefficient programming and allows the U.S. government to capitalize on the private sector’s ability to innovate.

Read More

S.C. Taps Private Donors To Expand In-Home Services For At-Risk Moms (Kaiser Health News)

In South Carolina, more than a quarter of children live in poverty, and a majority of babies are born to low-income mothers who qualify for Medicaid.

The expansion will allow the partnership to zero in on pregnant teenagers and young women with less formal education at higher risk for complications, said Chris Bishop, executive director of the Nurse-Family Partnership in South Carolina.

“It’s a massive investment to help us grow and to serve more families, and to innovate,” Bishop said. For example, the program is trying telehealth visits “to keep moms engaged and stay in touch, and keep them in the program while they go off and become great moms.”

Read More

Systems Change for Children and Families: The Morgridge Family Economic Security Innovator in Residence (Aspen Institute)

The first Innovator in Residence will be Roxane White – president and CEO of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) – a renowned political strategist and communicator with a particular expertise in policy change at the state level. A member of the 2015 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship cohort, she has been instrumental in Colorado’s pioneering adoption and implementation of the 2Gen approach across the state’s human services systems. She was previously chief of staff for Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper, executive director of Denver Human Services, and the creator of the first Pay for Success deal with NFP. Roxane will bring a fresh lens to policy solutions we pursue at the state and local levels, where some of the most efficient and effective policy interventions often occur.

Read More