Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

Outcomes Measurement: Talking with Families

Overview

This section describes resources and best practices related to talking with families about child and family outcomes. The page is divided up according to three main areas related to family participation in the outcomes measurement process: talking with families about the outcomes measurement process, encouraging and utilizing input from familes in the process of gathering information about the child and family, and sharing information back with the family about the child outcomes rating or family outcomes measurement process.

The following visual depicts these three areas. Click on the menu tabs above to learn more about each area and find related resources to learn more.

The ECTA Center is committed to including the concerns and voices of parents and families throughout our work. We hope that you will find these resources useful in your work.

Informing Families About Child and Family Outcomes

Explaining outcomes and the measurement process to families

Collecting Child and Family Outcomes Data

Including families in the assessment process

Reviewing Child and Family Outcomes Data with Families

Talking with families about child ratings and family needs

Informing Families about Outcomes

Informing Families about Outcomes Measurement

Some of the key components of informing families aboutchild and family outcomes include the following:

  • Program staff define child and family outcomes with families.
  • Program staff describe the purposes/intent of collecting outcomes data, including
    1. program accountability,
    2. measuring child progress, and;
    3. improving practices, interventions, and/or services.
  • Program staff discuss with families the outcomes measurement process in their state/program, including:
    • when children and families are assessed (e.g. entry and exit, once a year survey, etc.),
    • how information is gathered about the child and family, and
    • what tools are used for assessment, as appropriate.

Resources for informing families about the outcomes measurement process:

Family Participation in Data Collection

Family Participation in Outcomes Data Collection

Families can participate in the collection of outcomes data in multiple ways. Collecting information from families for the measurement of child outcomes data is a part of all early intervention and early childhood special education program activities, throughout referral and intake, initial and ongoing child assessment, and measuring their child's progress over time. Families also participate in activities that assess their experiences in the program including family surveys, interviews or focus groups that provide feedback to their child's early intervention and/or early childhood special education programs.

Some of the key components of a quality approach to informing families about the collection of child and family outcome data include the following:

  • Program staff invite family engagement through multiple options and formats for collecting information about their child and family (e.g.,interview guides, checklists, etc.).
  • Program staff use a strengths-based approach to gather information about the child and family.
  • Program staff use an individualized approach to gather information from families. Examples include communicating in a family’s home language and scheduling visits based on the family's schedule.
  • Program staff obtain information about the child in their natural environments, for example at home or child care, with familiar adults present.
  • Program staff use multiple sources to gather information about the child’s functioning, which may include direct observation using assessment tools, and structured or informal family interviews.
  • Programs engage families in the outcomes measurement process in an ongoing manner throughout their time in the program.

Resources for including family participation in the outcomes measurement process

Reviewing Data with Families

Families play a vital role in the review of their child's outcomes data throughout their time in early intervention and early childhood special education. Programs must support a family's understanding of the data by informing them about the processes and uses of both child- and family-level data, and by informing them of and reviewing data collected across their program, district, or state.

Reviewing Child- and Family-Level Data with Families

Some of the key components of a quality approach to reviewing child-level data with families include the following:

  • Program staff review child level data with families.
  • Program staff accurately describe child’s behaviors and skills in an understandable and sensitive manner.
  • Program staff communicate child’s skills in relation to ratings in a meaningful way that addresses both strengths and concerns/needs.
  • Program staff ask families for feedback about the accuracy of findings and engage families in meaningful conversations about the findings.
  • Program staff use child and family data to write IFSP/IEP outcomes and plan for services.

Resources for reviewing child- and family- level data with families:

  • Video: WWW: Engaging Families in the Child Outcomes Summary Process: This two-part video from Maryland Learning Links illustrates a team, including parents, discussing the child’s needs and strengths using the strengths and needs document. Part 1 illustrates child outcomes 1 and 2. Part 2 illustrates child outcome 3, and illustrates how a team can include the parent in determining the child outcome rating. It also includes reflections on the meeting from the providers and the parent.

Reviewing Program and State-Level Data with Families

Some of the key components of a quality approach to reviewing program, district or state level data with families include the following:

  • Program staff present data in multiple formats and with user-friendly language.

Resources for reviewing program, district or state level data with families

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

  • CB 8040
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8040
  • phone: 919.962.2001
  • fax: 919.966.7463
  • email: ectacenter@unc.edu

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
  • IDEAs that Work