ERIC Number: ED434738
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998
Reference Count: N/A
Aiming for Accountability: Lessons Learned from Eight States. Reaching Results.
Harvard Family Research Project, Cambridge, MA.
Interest is growing in planning and implementing new systems of holding child and family services accountable for results. The Results-Based Accountability (RBA) Project at the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) has supported and built upon recent state efforts to develop these new accountability systems for child and family services. This report from HFRP begins with an analysis of the characteristics of promising RBA efforts across eight states (Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont). The report compares the expectations of RBA efforts against the experiences of those responsible for RBA in these eight states. Finally, the report concludes with an assessment of the potential of RBA for child and family services, highlighting some of the challenges and creative solutions developed by the states involved in the eight case studies. The report asserts that RBA has the potential to improve child and family outcomes if it is used as a tool to help managers, policymakers, and citizens see what is working, change service strategies accordingly, and promote learning. The research found 11 characteristics common to successful RBA efforts: (1) began with strategic planning; (2) learned from past efforts; (3) considered appropriate mechanisms to institutionalize RBA work; (4) clearly identified roles and responsibilities; (5) took into account political contexts; (6) developed over time; (7) engaged champions; (8) built relationships; (9) incorporated training and technical assistance; (10) designated funds, staff, and computer support; and (11) developed reporting for a variety of audiences. The report maintains that, although current expectations about the benefits of an RBA approach are not aligned with these states' experiences, its research suggests that if RBA is used as a tool for improvement rather than punishment, it can lead people to engage in common problem solving, help those responsible for public programs to plan and manage, demonstrate the results of public investments, and promote innovation. Appendices summarize RBA efforts in the eight states, describe the study's methodology, and provide RBA resources. (EV)
Descriptors: Accountability, Case Studies, Program Descriptions, Program Design, Program Development, Program Evaluation, Program Implementation, State Action, State Programs, Welfare Services
Harvard Family Research Project, 38 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 ($5; this report plus 8 additional reports in this series, $40). Tel: 617-495-9108; Fax: 617-495-8594; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia, PA.
Authoring Institution: Harvard Family Research Project, Cambridge, MA.