RBA was developed by Mark Friedman as a method for planning, accountability, budgeting, and performance measurement. RBA relates desired conditions of well-being for entire populations to the performance of programs, agencies, and service delivery system. RBA starts with the ends -- the results we want for all children, families, and communities -- and works backwards to the means – the strategies and actions needed to achieve the results.
 
Once a program's contribution to results is identified, program effectiveness is measured.  Performance measures for programs, agencies and service delivery system answer three key questions:
  1. How much did we do?
  2. How well did we do it?
  3. Is anyone better off?
Whether utilized to develop strategies to improve the quality of life for entire populations or with ways to obtain better outcomes for the clients of specific programs, RBA analyzes the critical data to identify the key drivers of performance and to determine actions most likely to “turn the curve”: move the indicators and measures in the right direction.
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Structure of the RBA Framework

 

The structure of the Results Based Accountability (RBA) framework developed by Mark Friedman[1] and adopted by the Connecticut General Assembly [2] includes the following core components:

  • A population results statement
  • Population Indicators
  • Strategies to accomplish the desired population result
  • System and program performance measures
  • A data agenda, and
  • A research agenda.
The Structure of the Results Based Accountability Framework:

Population Results

Conditions of well-being for the population of children, adults, families or communities in the State of Connecticut.  Desired Connecticut population results include healthy children, children ready for school, children succeeding in school, children staying out of trouble, strong families, safe communities

Indicators (also called "benchmarks")

Measures that help quantify the achievement of a result. They answer the question "How would we recognize these results in measurable terms if we fell over them?" For example, the crime rate helps quantify whether we are living in safe communities

Strategies

Coherent collections of actions that have a reasoned chance of improving results. Strategies are made up of our best thinking about what works, and include the contributions of many partners. No single action by any one agency can create the improved results we want and need

System and Program Performance Measures

Reveal how well public and private programs and agencies are working, individually and as a part of a “system” of services. The most important performance measures tell us whether the clients or customers of the service are better off. We sometimes refer to these measures as client or customer results (to distinguish them from cross-community results for all children and families).  The other types of program performance measures are how much we do and how well we do it

Data Development Agenda

A prioritized list of areas in which data development work is required to answer each of the three core RBA questions: How much; How well; and Better Off. Getting good data becomes more difficult as we move to progressively smaller geographic areas.

Research Agenda
Provides a disciplined way of pursuing unanswered questions that arise from the RBA process

Basic to the Results Based Accountability framework are three critical questions that must be asked, and answered, to assure that statewide policy and budgetary decisions are based on a set of desired results.  This framework forces us to ask, up front, what result are we seeking and will/did our policy, practice, programs and investment get us there. Specifically, RBA requires that we ask three questions:
  • How much did we do?
  • How well did we do it?
  • Is anybody better off?

Strategies developed are chosen because we expect them to help us get to the desired results.  System and program measures tell us how well we are doing in response to each of the three questions. The data and research agendas tell us what information we need and what questions still require research and answers in order to improve our performance toward the desired result.

 

Turning the Curve

"Turning the Curve" is the language used to describe the strategies and actions that we will take over the next 30 months to improve outcomes for the children and families we serve. Contributing to the well-being of all Connecticut children requires that the Department provides necessary and effective supports for vulnerable youngsters and their families within its statutory mandates, and to partner with families, communities, other state agencies and the private sector in the development and delivery of services and support. 

 

Outcomes must be measured over time and then related to the headline and secondary indicators of Connecticut's Results Based Accountability framework. It is the department’s goal to generate, analyze and share performance data for each RBA population indicator related to the children and families we serve directly.  The strategies we will employ derive from, and are directly related to, the agency's six cross-cutting themes.

 

 

Results Based Accountability in Connecticut

 

Connecticut General Assembly, Appropriations  Committee, RBA Sub-Committee

The State of Connecticut has been working to bring Results Based Accountability (RBA) to state agencies for nearly a decade. The work began in 2006 with two RBA initiatives, the Connecticut Early Childhood Education Cabinet and a water quality program in the (then) Department of Environmental Protection. From this beginning, the CT General Assembly with support from the Charter Oak Group has been working across state agencies to bring an RBA framework to their budget and policy process.[3]

The Appropriations Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly established a Results Based Accountability Sub-Committee.  This sub-committee has provided a wealth of guidance to agencies and individuals interested in understanding and in practicing RBA. Guidance includes an RBA Glossary, RBA report card templates, report cards that have been submitted by state agencies, and a number of training powerpoints. 

The Appropriations Committee RBA website can be found at: https://www.cga.ct.gov/app/rba/

Results Based Accountability is directed at improving the well-being of the state's children and families while at the same time examining the contribution of specific programs to that population outcome.  It focuses state agencies, together with the General Assembly, on improving accountability for resource allocation and use, achieving better results for the state's citizenry, targeting spending to programs that work and identifying way to improve results from under-performing systems.[4]

 

From the outset, General Assembly and Executive Branch leaders have focused on the use of RBA to describe the status of this State’s children ages birth to 18. This fall, the first CT KIDS Report Card was presented.[5]   In the spring of 2013, the state’s RBA early childhood effort will focus in on children in the first years of life, a period shown by neuroscience research to be the time of most rapid brain growth over a person’s entire lifetime. In addition, the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund continues to support the development of RBA-based early childhood strategic plans in more than 30 of the state’s most vulnerable communities.[6]

CTKids Report Card

 

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Select Committee on Children has established an RBA report card relating to Connecticut’s children as required by Public Act 11-109.[7]  The report card is designed to track how Connecticut's children are doing and to identify ways to achieve better outcomes.  The result defined by CT Kids Report Card is for Connecticut children to grow up stable, safe, healthy, and ready to lead successful lives.  Ultimately, the goal is for the CTKids Report Card to become a guide for policy, program, and budget decisions that promote the well-being of all Connecticut children. The CT Kids Report Card website functions as a centralized source of data that can be used by the public, policymakers, service providers and other partners to increase results accountability and public transparency.

 

In 2010, Connecticut's total population was estimated to be 3,574,097. Children and youth to age 18 constitute 22.4% of the total population, or about 800,600.   In comparison, on any day, the Department carries 25,000 to 30,000 youngsters on its direct caseload.  This includes children and youth referred for abuse or neglect, committed to the department under child welfare or delinquency statutes, or receiving mental health services provided by agency institutions. Importantly, while although only 4% of all Connecticut children are on the department's caseload on any given day, 100% of all children living in families where either abuse or neglect is substantiated are on the DCF caseload at any point in time.

 

The CTKids Report Card can be found on line at: https://www.cga.ct.gov/kid/rba/default.asp

DCF’s Contribution to Connecticut’s RBA Population Results 

To support achievement of the state’s goals for children, the Department has developed a set of performance measures aligned with the CT Kids Report Card RBA population indicators.  Both the CT Kids population indicators and the DCF system and performance measures are shown below. 

CT Kids RBA Report Card Results Statement Connecticut children grow up stable, safe, healthy, and ready to lead successful lives

DCF contribution the CT Results Statement

All children served by DCF grow up healthy, safe, smart and strong

CT Kids RBA Population Indicators


SAFE

  • Unexpected deaths
  • Substantiated reports of abuse and neglect
  • Emergency room visits for injuries
  • Referrals to juvenile court for delinquency
HEALTHY
  • Low birth weight
  • Childhood obesity
  • Children with health insurance
  • Children with thoughts of suicide
FUTURE SUCCESS
  • Kindergarteners needing substantial support
  • Third graders at or above grade level in reading
  • On-time high school graduation rate
  • Children living in households below the Federal Poverty Line
STABLE
  • Chronic absenteeism
  • Families without at least one parent with a full-time job
  • Families spending more than 30% of income on housing
  • Families without enough money for food
DCF Strategic Plan Outcome Measures
 
 SAFE
  • Child abuse and neglect numbers and rates
  • Re-entry numbers and rates
  • Parental functioning broadly defined
  • Abuse identification by ER medical staff
HEALTHY
  • Age-appropriate development
  • Healthy weight
  • Optimal receipt of health services from prevention through treatment
  • Good mental health
SMART (Future Success)
  • Entry to kindergarten readiness
  • Reading at “goal” in 3rd grade
  • Grade level school performance K-12
  • On-time high school graduation rate
  • Post-secondary training,  education or employment

STRONG  (STABLE)

  • School  attendance
  • Multiple placements or family homelessness
  • Parental substance abuse, domestic violence or mental illness
  • Parental education level

 
 

[1] Mark Friedman

[3] Online at -- https://www.cga.ct.gov/app/rba/  and http://www.charteroakgroup.com/resources/index_rba.shtml

[4] Building the CTKids Report Card. A presentation to the Connecticut Commission on Children, September 21, 2012

[6] The Graustein Memorial Fund’s Discovery Initiative

[7] Public Act 11-109: An Act Requiring an Annual Results-Based Accountability Report Card Evaluating State Policies and Programs Impacting Children.