Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

Outcomes Measurement: Family Outcomes

Photograph: A child care professional holds an infant boy outdoors. (Photograph by Alex Lazara)

For families, the goal of early intervention and early childhood special education is to enable them to provide care for their children and have the resources they need to participate in their own desired family and community activities. Through an iterative process which included extensive input from stakeholders, the Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Center (now a part of the ECTA Center) identified five family outcomes to support this goal:

  • Families understand their child's strengths, abilities, and special needs.
  • Families know their rights and advocate effectively for their child.
  • Families help their child develop and learn.
  • Families have support systems.
  • Families access desired services, programs, and activities in their community.

For more information on the five family outcomes, watch a video overview and/or visit the family outcomes section of the ECTA Outcomes Resource Database.

Federal Reporting on Family Outcomes

The family outcomes federal reporting requirement for Part C programs was developed from the five ECO outcomes. States are required to report on the percent of families participating in Part C who report that early intervention (EI) services have helped their family:

  • Know their rights;
  • Effectively communicate their children's needs; and
  • Help their children develop and learn.

Family outcomes is State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR) Indicator 4 for Part C.

National Family Outcomes Data Analysis

Each year, the ECTA Center analyzes and reports a national summary of family outcomes data for Part C.

State Approaches to Family Outcomes Measurement

States use survey methods to collect family outcomes data, but the questions and processes vary. The survey tools commonly used by states are the ECO Family Outcomes Surveys and the PDF: NCSEAM Survey. Some states have developed their own survey.

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

  • CB 8040
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8040
  • phone: 919.962.2001
  • fax: 919.966.7463
  • email:

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P120002 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

  • FPG Child Development Institute
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