Floridas project, led by the Florida Department of Children & Families and Florida State University, will synthesize information from a variety of sources so that policymakers, to the greatest extent possible, can get a clear and complete picture of the impacts of welfare reform on children in Florida. It will build upon work already completed or underway, ranging from experimental research studies and local monitoring projects to performancebased program budgeting and statewide benchmarks. As appropriate, national research findings also will be incorporated. In year one, the project will:
Identify key issues and policies that need to be addressed in Florida over the next two years;
Select indicators that address these issues;
Identify new data sources where gaps have been identified; and
Develop a plan for using indicators in critical policy decisions.
Year two will focus on implementation of this plan. A statewide task force of 40 people representing government, business, nonprofit organizations, universities and seven key local communities will develop the issue framework that will drive the selection of measures. Additional input for this framework will be obtained from MiamiDade at a local Welfare Reform Summit and follow up meetings with community leaders. Measurement and data issues will be addressed through work groups of technical staff, who will recommend specific indicators to the task force. Most importantly, the task force will develop a plan for the continuing use of these childrens indicators/measures by policy and decision makers. This plan will address the information needs of target audiences, ranging from the Governor and Legislature to the general public, and identify effective ways to communicate that information so that it will be accurately interpreted, easily understood and readily used in decisions affecting policy, budget and program implementation.