This technical assistance workshop was the third in a series of technical assistance workshops hosted by the Chapin Hall Center for Children for participating states in the Child Indicators Initiative. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sponsors the Advancing States Child Indicator Initiatives Project. Martha Moorehouse is the Project Officer. The Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago provides technical assistance to the Indicator Project states and prepared these minutes. Harold Richman of Chapin Hall is the Principal Investigator and Mairéad Reidy is the Project Director.
Chapin Hall Center for Children
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A Chapin Hall Working Paper, CS-67
Overview: The technical assistance workshop, held at Chapin Hall on May 3-5th 2000, was the third in a series of technical assistance workshops hosted by the Chapin Hall Center for Children for participating states in the Child Indicators Initiative. The workshops encouraged peer leadership and collaboration among states, and provided states with an opportunity to work with and learn from one another on areas of common interest. Chapin Hall discussed technical assistance needs extensively with participating states and worked collaboratively with them to develop the agenda for this meeting. State participants reported on progress, shared information on successes and brainstormed around emerging and ongoing challenges. Key experts in the field of child indicators were invited to share their expertise and brainstorm with participants as they discussed challenges and successes. The May 2000 workshops provided participants with practical guidance in areas including: (1) how to move from a more general list of conceptualized indicators to a set of operationalized indicators that can be measured and tracked; and (2) how to use these operationalized indicators in policy making at the state and local levels. Key themes included the following:
International Perspective: Asher Ben-Arieh, Associate Director of the National Council for the Child in Israel, and Editor of the State of the Child in Israel, directs an international project entitled "Monitoring and Measuring Child Well Being." Asher described the work of this project and offered an international perspective on the child indicator work.
From Concept to Indicator: Allen Harden, Chapin Hall Center for Children, led a discussion on how to appraise progress, identify critical remaining issues, and decide where to focus next efforts. Discussion included a review of the general topic of indicator development, including guidelines, strategies, and limits for indicators of child well being.
Data Management: Topics covered included:
- Data Linkage - Bong Joo Lee, Chapin Hall Center for Children
- Data Mining - Robert Goerge, Chapin Hall Center for Children
- Small Area Analysis - Fred Wulczyn and John Dilts, Chapin Hall Center for Children
- Urban Survey - Kristin Shook, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
- Data Standardization - Allen Harden, Chapin Hall Center for Children
- Interpretation of Data - Robert Goerge and Bong Joo Lee, Chapin Hall Center for Children
Revisiting School Readiness and Promotional Indicators This session was led by Mairéad Reidy, Senior Research Associate at Chapin Hall; Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT; Reeva Sullivan Murphy, Childcare Administrator in the Rhode Island Department of Human Services; David Murphey, Senior Policy Analyst in the Vermont Agency of Human Services; Beatrice Colón of the Illinois State Board of Education; David Ayer, Director of Research, Evaluation and MIS in the Maryland Governor's Office for Children, Youth, and Families; Monica Herk, Project Coordinator of the Georgia Child Indicators Project; Janel Harris, Research Scientist in Minnesota's Department of Health, Division of Family Health/MCH; and Steve Heasley, Consultant to the West Virginia Governor's Cabinet on Children and Families.The panel discussed how states were measuring components of school readiness and how states are using school readiness indicators to form and monitor policy.
From Indicators to Outcomes: Considerations and Strategies for Communities: This session was led by Ada Skyles, Chapin Hall Center for Children; Arlene Andrews, Institute for Families in Society, University of South Carolina; Michael Bennett, Egan Urban Center, DePaul University; Jennifer Jewiss, University of Vermont; David Murphey, Vermont Agency of Human Services; Mary Nelson, Bethel New Life, Inc.
Community-based organizations and other community actors are prime audiences for and potential users of the information represented by indicators. This session briefly recapped discussions from earlier meetings on making indicator data accessible and useful to communities, and then moved on to the next level of development: How can we help communities move from indicators to outcomes? That is, how can indicator data be made a real force in community action? This session explored the range of effective and appropriate roles for states in support of this goal, both in working with communities to understand the reality behind the data and in helping communities interpret data and employ it for their own purposes. The session informed discussion from a number of perspectives, including state government, community-based organizations, and the research community, and covered a range of focuses for action (rural, urban, etc.)--all with the intention of further informing discussion and action at the community level.
Institutionalizing and Sustaining the Use of Indicators: This session was lead by Fred Wulczyn, Chapin Hall Center for Children; David Ayer, Maryland Governor's Office for Children, Youth and Families; Thomas Darling, Schaefer Center for Public Policy, University of Baltimore; Christine Johnson, Learning Systems Institute, Florida State University; Jim Witherspoon, Maryland Department of Human Resources. This session focused on how to extend the use of indicators both internal and external to government. State experiences were presented that described how agencies can use indicators to sharpen state policy and program development within government and in government's relationships with communities.