In the fall of 2005, the BC Early Childhood Development [ECD] Funders agreed to work together to test whether it was possible to identify and agree upon common child outcomes for BC. After reviewing relevant research [see BC Evaluation Project Report], the BC ECD Funders network adopted the following vision and ultimate outcomes for ECD in BC:
Vision: Children are healthy and develop to their full potential.
Ultimate [or Long Term] Outcomes:
- Mothers are healthy and give birth to healthy infants who remain healthy.
- Children experience healthy early child development, including optimal early learning and care.
- Parents are empowered to nurture and care for their children.
- Communities support the development of all children and families.
These four Ultimate Outcomes reflect the reporting requirements of the provinces to the federal government and most ECD programs in BC have one or more of these goals. The next steps in the process involved developing evaluation frameworks [logic models and shared measurement tools] for two of the outcomes:
3. Parents are empowered to nurture and care for their children.
4. Communities support the development of all children and families.
Some key principles that have guided the evaluation project are:
- Purpose of the evaluation is clear
- Informationcollected is useful
- The tools are simple to use
- One report can be used for multiple funders
- Users are involved in the design
- Support is provided to build local evaluation capacity [training, webinars, User Guide, resources and contact person]
The process for developing evaluation tools and reporting systems for each of the two outcomes involved:
- Developing a logic model which shows relationships between the resources, activities, outputs and outcomes of a program
- Developing tools to collect the data
- Involving a trial group of users in reviewing the logic model and tools and then pilot testing the tools
- Ensuring users receive their data, along with suggestions about how to interpret the data
- Refining the process and tools based upon what is learned in the pilot
- Providing opportunities for ECD groups throughout BC to participate in the evaluation.
For a chronology of how the work progressed on the two outcomes, please see Quick Guide to Progress of the BC ECD Evaluation Project