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Center on Effective Services for Children. (1995, Spring). Interagency data systems for accountability: Issue brief. Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers. This issue brief discusses revamping from a conceptual, not operational, standpoint data systems to support cross-sector initiatives for children and families. The purposes of multi-agency databases are discussed; elements of a cross-cutting data system are proposed; existing systems (e.g., reasons why more progress is not being made) and the issue of resources are examined; and criteria for designing and modifying data systems are suggested. This brief provides much useful information for states and localities faced with the challenge of setting up data systems for accountability.

Cutler, I., Tan, A., & Downs, L. (1995, September). State investments in education and other children's services: Case studies of financing innovations. Washington, DC: The Finance Project. States are operating in a rapidly changing environment. Current proposals for block grants, system reform, devolution, and government reinvention seek to alter the role of the state in financing education and other children's services. States are currently preparing to take on additional responsibilities from a less activist federal government, while at the same time passing on added responsibilities to school districts and local governments, and to newly created local collaboratives, and in some instances reaching beyond local government to establish partnerships with neighborhood bodies and individual schools. This report documents the initiatives of state policymakers in seven states (California, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, and Wisconsin). It includes a reflection on what the authors have seen across the states and seven brief reports describing select education and children's services initiatives in these states.

Friedman, M. (1995). From outcomes to budgets: An approach to outcome-based budgeting for family and children's services. Manuscript in preparation, Center for the Study of Social Policy, Washington, DC. This paper argues that changes to budgeting systems are essential for effective reform in family and children's services. It discusses the problems with current budget systems, sets forth some basic definitions and concepts about outcome-based (or results-based) budgeting, provides a framework for an outcome-based budgeting process, and examines some of the issues associated with developing such a budgeting approach. The appendices give examples of outcomes, outlines an approach to implementing outcome-based budgeting, and provides examples of an outcome-based budgeting tools and products. Provides useful information for states and localities on a critical area of accountability.

Improved Outcomes for Children Project. (1995). Finding the data: A start-up list of outcome measures with annotations. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Social Policy. This companion document to The Case for Shifting to Results-Based Accountability was developed to help communities determine the outcomes on which data are already being collected, and find the data in their community. The aim was to do as much of the “legwork” as possible in order to make it easier for states and communities to determine how their families were doing. For each of the outcomes in the core list contained in The Case for Shifting to Results-Based Accountability, this document provides information about: how that outcome can be measured; what cautions should be heeded in collecting data; and where data can be found on a national, state, and local level. Appendices list many organizations, by state, that collect data on topics such as child welfare, juvenile justice, educational scores, child health, and other areas.

National Center for Children in Poverty. (1996). Mapping and tracking state initiatives to meet the needs of young children and families: A state-by-state overview. New York: Author. This new report examines how various states are promoting the healthy development of the next generation of American citizens. It analyzes cross-system program, planning, and comprehensive initiatives in all 50 sates.

Schorr, L., Farrow, F., Hornbeck, D., & Watson, S. (1995). The case for shifting to results-based accountability with a startup list of outcome measures. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Social Policy. This paper sets out some of the issues in the shift to results-based accountability, and identifies a list of outcome measures with annotations on their use. The authors see results-based accountability as an essential part of a larger strategy to improve outcomes for children. This paper sets the stage for later discussions of how these outcomes can be translated into a program agenda; how that program agenda can then lead to a budget and financial plan; and how, over time, results-based accountability can be combined with both rewards and penalties, based on performance.

Wray, L. D., & Hauer, J. A. (1996, January). Best practices reviews for local government: Identifying and sharing better ideas on public services. Public Management, 7-11. Wray and Hauer describe the accountability tool of the best practices review and its benefits. Best practices reviews are studies of varying practices, processes, and systems used by similar organizations to find those that are most effective. These reviews facilitate systematic analysis of performance and its relation to cost, and encourage learning and communication between organizations. A concise summary of best practices reviews and the implications of this approach.

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