Policy Resource

Connecticut’s Use of a Results Based Accountability Framework to Improve Child and Family Outcomes

Feb 9, 2016

Connecticut state agencies have embraced Results Based Accountability to assess and make improvements to citizens’ quality of life.

The work began in 2005 when the Connecticut Early Childhood Cabinet was selected by the state General Assembly as one of two pilot projects for the use of RBA in the budget process. RBA is an approach to plan, budget, and measure the performance of state programs that is centered on quality of life outcomes. It is grounded in three central questions: how much did we do; how well did we do it; and is anybody better off?

The Early Childhood Cabinet used the RBA framework to determine how well the state’s early childhood system was meeting its goal of all children Ready by Five and Fine by Nine. Specifically, it measured how well the early childhood system and its programs coordinated and delivered services, and whether Connecticut’s youngest children were better off as a result of those services. When the Cabinet began this accountability work in 2005, they were working with three programs to use RBA.

From 2006 through 2009, the Cabinet used RBA report cards to strengthen accountability. In 2009, 19 programs were reported and an RBA Accountability Plan was created. In 2013, 6 state agencies completed 15 RBA report cards, a decrease from 2009. In contrast, the use of RBA as a strategic planning and accountability framework increased at the community level with 39 towns creating RBA early childhood plans by 2014.

To assess whether programs are preparing children to be ready for kindergarten at age five, the Cabinet collected data across a variety of quality of life indicators for young children, including baseline data on all children born in 2006, the risk factors to which they are exposed and the services they receive, as well as data on well-child health care, trends in preschool attendance and skill assessment across domains upon kindergarten entrance. Additionally, the Cabinet is examining the early childhood system serving these children, with data on RBA expansion, investment and support of local capacity, data development, private foundation investment, and preschool quality improvements.

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) also embraced the RBA model, using it in their work with grantees of Family Resource Centers, After School Programs, Youth Service

Updated July 2017.

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