Measuring the Progress of Jim Casey Initiative Sites

Posted January 14, 2016
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog measuringprogressofjimcasey 2016

The Jim Casey Youth Oppor­tu­ni­ties Ini­tia­tive helps 17 sites across the coun­try improve out­comes for young peo­ple tran­si­tion­ing from fos­ter care to adult­hood. We use a The­o­ry of Change and Log­ic Mod­el frame­work to eval­u­ate our work and describe our approach to improv­ing the out­comes we know mat­ter most for young peo­ple. With­in the Jim Casey Ini­tia­tive Log­ic Mod­el, we map out our five core strate­gies, the spe­cif­ic pol­i­cy and prac­tice goals that are achieved with the imple­men­ta­tion of these strate­gies, and the result­ing improved out­comes for young peo­ple — ben­e­fit­ing not just the young peo­ple, but also the pub­lic and pri­vate sys­tems that serve them and their peers.

Self-Eval­u­a­tion at the Site Level

When self-eval­u­a­tion is done effec­tive­ly, it enables key part­ners and the pub­lic to under­stand whether activ­i­ties are being imple­ment­ed as planned. It also can show the extent to which those activ­i­ties con­tributed to the desired results for the tar­get pop­u­la­tion, and pro­vide real-time infor­ma­tion that allows for course corrections.

At the Jim Casey Ini­tia­tive, our self-eval­u­a­tion” approach is a sys­tem­at­ic and orga­nized way for our sites to col­lect accu­rate, rel­e­vant, and time­ly infor­ma­tion and use it to:

  • Guide ongo­ing, local deci­sion mak­ing; and
  • Mea­sure the degree to which sites improve out­comes for young peo­ple tran­si­tion­ing from fos­ter care.

To enhance our sites’ self-eval­u­a­tion efforts, we pro­vide sev­er­al tools and resources including: 

  • Two web-enabled Oppor­tu­ni­ty Pass­port™ data sys­tems, one for col­lec­tion of par­tic­i­pant and pro­gram-lev­el data and anoth­er for col­lec­tion of par­tic­i­pant-lev­el out­comes sur­vey data;
  • A series of tools includ­ing an envi­ron­men­tal scan, a core strate­gies rubric, a prac­tice path­ways tool, and a pol­i­cy matrix;
  • Train­ing and tech­ni­cal assis­tance to sup­port sites’ data col­lec­tion and clean­ing efforts; and
  • Data analy­sis and com­mu­ni­ca­tions sup­port to share self-eval­u­a­tion findings.

Using Data Nationally

At the nation­al lev­el, we use data to refine our The­o­ry of Change and Log­ic Mod­el and to con­tribute to state and fed­er­al pol­i­cy dis­cus­sions relat­ed to ser­vices and sup­ports to young peo­ple tran­si­tion­ing from fos­ter care. While there was scant infor­ma­tion on this pop­u­la­tion of young peo­ple when we began the Jim Casey Ini­tia­tive in 2001, we have col­lect­ed and ana­lyzed more than a decade’s worth of data to inform our work and the field.

In 2015, we launched a new part­ner­ship with Child Trends, which serves as our eval­u­a­tion part­ner assist­ing sites in man­ag­ing data col­lec­tion and integri­ty, pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal assis­tance, con­duct­ing data analy­ses, and com­mu­ni­cat­ing findings.

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