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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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Oregon Benchmarks
Oregon was the first state in the nation to develop a results-based accountability system. In 1989, Oregon began developing a statewide, long-range strategic plan to increase jobs and income, improve the economy, and protect and enhance the quality of life for every Oregonian. In 1991, Oregon Benchmarks were introduced to measure progress toward long-term goals. These Benchmarks were established through a broad participatory process engaging people from throughout the state. Similarly, performance indicators were established in a number of areas around these goals, and include indicators of child and family well-being.

The Oregon Benchmarks have been developed, implemented, and sustained under the direction of three different Governors: Neil Goldschmidt, Barbara Roberts, and now John Kitzhaber. While the development and implementation of the system have involved representatives from the state, localities, private individuals and nonprofit organizations, the Oregon Progress Board (which includes representatives of all of these groups) is the organization that currently oversees the system. The Oregon Commission on Children and Families coordinates the child and family issues. These groups have faced various challenges in designing, implementing, and sustaining their accountability system.

Minnesota Milestones
Minnesota, along with Oregon, was one of the first states to develop a results-based accountability system. Termed Minnesota Milestones, the state's initiative began in 1991 under Governor Arne Carlson. Statewide goals and performance indicators were established through a consensual process that brought together thousands of Minnesotans. Government agencies are required to submit strategic plans and measures for their programs within the Milestones framework. One agency, Minnesota Planning, is responsible for coordinating the Milestones effort and producing the state's annual report on progress against the milestones.

In 1995, the Department of Children, Families, and Learning was created to better coordinate family and child programs, improve program flexibility, enhance local decision making, and improve public accountability. At the same time, the state has encouraged community-based efforts to better focus the states' efforts and improve accountability.

Minnesota's efforts provide insights into many aspects of developing accountability systems while supporting integrated services for children and families and encouraging community-based efforts.

Over the next few months, Harvard Family Research Project will be conducting field studies of the initiatives made by both Oregon and Minnesota. These field studies will provide more information about the challenges these states have faced in developing their systems, and the lessons they have learned. The findings from these field studies will be incorporated into a later issue of the newsletter (Vol. II, No. 3). It is hoped that the lessons learned in Oregon and Minnesota may be useful to other states and localities in their efforts to develop results-based accountability systems.

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