Measuring and Evaluating Developmental Services: Strategies and Lessons from the ABCD II Consortium States
Since 2000, the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) and The Commonwealth Fund have conducted state learning consortia – in the Assuring better Child Health and Development (ABCD) initiative – dedicated to improving the delivery of child development services to young children who are Medicaid beneficiaries. The work of the eight ABCD states has shown that state policies, especially Medicaid policies, can effectively promote improvements in the quality of preventive and developmental services provided to young children.
Five states – California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Utah – participated in the ABCD II Consortium. One early issue faced by the ABCD II states was how to measure the effectiveness of their efforts to improve the delivery of mental health services for very young children. The five participating states needed reliable and valid measures to inform program implementation efforts, guide improvements and ongoing program evaluation, and demonstrate the value of the programs for sustained funding and focus.
Reliable and valid measures will only be collected if the measurement strategy is thoughtfully and carefully designed to ensure that the tools and methods accurately assess the objectives of focus.
The purpose of Measuring and Evaluating Developmental Services is to provide states that seek to implement efforts similar to those in the ABCD II initiative with information on:
• Methodologies and opportunities for evaluation measures related to screening children’s social and emotional development, referral, and follow-up care for children identified at risk.
• Real-world examples and lessons learned from the ABCD II states in their measurement efforts.
The approaches and strategies used across the ABCD II states were varied while focused on similar goals and objectives. Consequently, there is a core set of evaluation measures collected by all of the ABCD II states. Additionally, there are state-specific measures used to further capture each state’s policy and improvement efforts.
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