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Collaborative Aims to Help Children's Groups Speak the Same Language

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A group of national and local organizations announced today the creation of the National Results and Equity Collaborative, a partnership that is designed to make child-focused philanthropy, government efforts, and community support programs more effective by ensuring they are all tracking the same results and sharing effective strategies for confronting social challenges. The collaborative will make sure everyone is singing from the same song book, as one of my old Southern friends used to say.

Most groups that aim to tackle "cradle-to-career" child well-being issues—such as chronic truancy or health concerns—measure a variety of indicators (like teenage birth rates, for example) to determine where to focus their efforts and to track the effectiveness of their programs. But when it comes time to share best practices or to collaborate with other like-minded organizations, they may find that they measure those indicators slightly differently or that they track different indicators altogether. The collaborative aims to solve that.

From its press release:

"The collaborative is creating a national network to align results-based technical assistance, effective strategies and solutions across multiple national and local initiatives. The hope is that with consistency and use of results-based methodologies at all levels, communities, states, and the nation can make faster and enduring progress in helping more low-income and minority children and youth succeed in school and life. 

The goal of the collaborative is to promote accelerated positive results for the most vulnerable children and youth by aligning several important dimensions of a results-based approach, including:

• A framework that can serve as a common outline to which communities and initiatives can add their unique additional indicators and/or language
• A shared commitment to building community capacity and generating evidence about how community capacities contribute to results
• A willingness to share tools and materials that support strategy development."

The collaborative will develop definitions for what should be tracked and how it should be measured, sharing the information nationally and adding new indicators as the need arises, the press release said.

Partners in the collaborative include: the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the Center for Family Services, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, the Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership, the Literacy Funders Network, Literacy Powerline's Network of Coalitions, the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink, the Results Leadership Group, the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey in Camden County, the United Way of Salt Lake, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, and United Way Worldwide.

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