ECO Resources: Family Outcomes Survey
In the Fall of 2003, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the U.S. Department of Education funded the Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Center to promote the development and implementation of child and family outcome measures for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities which could be used in local, state, and national accountability systems. Through an iterative process which included extensive input from stakeholders, five family outcomes have been identified:
- 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.
Following this process, researchers at the ECO Center constructed the Family Outcomes Survey, an instrument for parents to rate the extent to which they have achieved each of the five outcomes. Several versions of the survey are now available to download on the Survey Versions tab above.
Over the past year, the ECO Center staff have collaborated with colleagues in Illinois, Texas, and other states using the Family Outcomes Survey to revise the Part C version of the survey. The two main goals of this work were: (1) to develop additional items to ensure the survey was adequately measuring the 5 family outcomes and the 3 OSEP program indicators, and (2) to address formatting issues raised by states.
An updated version of the Part C survey (the ECO Family Outcomes Survey-Revised or ECO FOS-R) is now complete and is being used in several states. The core concepts in the ECO FOS-R remain the same as in the original Family Outcomes Survey, but it contains more detailed information to guide program improvement activities and uses a modified survey format. Some psychometric properties of the revised measure have been tested and are described in the FAQ document. The revised Part C survey has been translated into Spanish and ten additional languages. Special thanks to our colleagues in Texas, Minnesota and Washington for assisting with these translations. The revised Part C ECO Family Outcomes Survey, translations, and additional information can be found on the Survey Versions tab above.
Community of Practice
The ECO Center has a Family Outcomes Survey (FOS) Community of Practice as a way for interested individuals to share experiences with the Family Outcomes Survey. The group has focused on issues of process as well as analysis and interpretation of family outcomes data. Some topics discussed in this Community of Practice are broadly relevant to those using other types of family surveys. When those topics are discussed, participation from those using other family surveys will also be welcomed. The group meets via conference call several times a year and in person, when possible, at national meetings. State Part C and Section 619 staff are invited to participate; to join please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other interested individuals should contact their Part C coordinator or Section 619 coordinator to request permission to participate.
The Part C version of the ECO Family Outcomes Survey was revised based on feedback from stakeholders. Details about changes can be found in the FAQs, below. Please note: The ECO Center will continue to support the use of the 2006 ECO FOS.
- FAQs on the Family Outcomes Survey- Revised. This document provides a brief overview on the revisions to FOS. It describes the survey changes, scoring recommendations, OSEP reporting, and answers other questions about the revision.
- English- Revised March 29, 2010
- Spanish- August 20, 2009
Other translations are available below. If you need a different translation, or if you have one available, please email email@example.com.
- Mandarin Chinese
- Part C (Birth to 3)
- English- Revised November 2006
- Chinese (Simplified)
- Spanish- Revised April 10, 2007
- Part B/619 (Preschool)
Bailey, D. B., Raspa, M., & Fox, L. (2012). What is the future of family outcomes and family-centered services? Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 31, 216-224.
This article describes the core components of family-centered practice and summarizes the data in support of the use of such practices. We identify major outcomes included in research studies and compare those with the family data that states currently are required to report. We show that early intervention and preschool programs are not held accountable for family outcomes, limited only to showing that families are satisfied with services. We predict that family outcomes will not be part of any national accountability effort in the near future until research clearly shows that such outcomes ultimately will benefit children. We suggest several lines of work needed to advance the field towards making an informed policy decision about documenting family benefit.
Bailey, D. B., Raspa, M., Sam, & Humphreys, B. P. (2011). Promoting family outcomes in early intervention. In Handbook of Special Education (pp. 668-684). New York, NY: Routledge.
Families and their children should benefit from early intervention programs. For benefit to occur, outcomes must be specified and measured, and practices shown to be related to those outcomes must be in place. In this chapter, we focus on the practices likely to lead to enhanced outcomes for families. We begin with a brief discussion of conceptual models for defining desired outcomes for families. Next, we describe what it means to be "family-centered," including a review of the core family-centered principles that provide the necessary foundation for the attainment of all family outcomes. We then review and provide evidence in support of selected family practices which, when conducted within the framework of family-centered care, can lead to specific outcome attainment for families. We conclude by identifying gaps in the literature and proposing research questions that, if answered, could lead to evidenced-based practices most likely to improve family outcomes.
Bailey, D.B., Raspa, M., Olmstead, M.G., Novak, S.P., Sam, A.M., Humphreys, B.P. (2011). Development and Psychometric Validation of the Family Outcomes Survey-Revised. Journal of Early Intervention, 33(1) 6-23.
Few psychometrically valid scales exist to assess family outcomes and the helpfulness of early intervention. This article describes the development and psychometric properties of the Family Outcomes Survey—Revised. The revision was prompted by the need to (a) create a new format that would be easier for parents to understand, (b) revise and expand the survey items to provide more information for states to use in planning for program improvement, and (c) demonstrate acceptable psychometric properties. Input from stakeholders and experts was used to identify concepts and develop candidate items. Data from a web-based survey conducted with 265 families in Illinois and Texas were used to assess the psychometric properties of candidate items. These activities produced a revised survey with sound psychometric integrity that can be used to document family outcomes and identify areas for program improvement.
Raspa, M., Bailey, D. B., Nelson, R., Robinson, N., Simpson, M. E., Guillen, C., Olmsted, M., & Houts, R. (2010). Measuring family outcomes in early intervention: Findings from a large-scale assessment. Exceptional Children, 76(4), 496-510.
This study reports data from a large scale assessment using the Family Outcomes Survey with families participating in early intervention. The study was designed to determine how families describe themselves with regard to outcomes achieved, the extent to which outcomes are interrelated, and the extent to which child, family, and program factors are associated with outcomes. Families reported positive outcomes but there was variability in their responses. Factor analysis revealed that outcomes clustered in two areas: (a) family knowledge and ability, and (b) family support and community services. Hierarchical linear models indicated race/ethnicity, income, time in early intervention, perception of early intervention, and family-centered services were related to family outcomes. Recommendations for how to best use survey data are discussed.
Olmsted, M. G., Bailey, D. B., Raspa, M., Nelson, R., Robinson, N., Simpson, M. E., et al. (2010). Outcomes reported by Spanish-speaking families in early intervention. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 30 (1) 46-55
This study uses data from two states to compare how families participating in early intervention who completed a Spanish version of the Family Outcomes Survey (FOS) (n = 291) compared with Hispanic (n = 486) and non-Hispanic (n = 2,363) families who completed the English version. In general, most families reported positive outcomes but there was variability in their responses. Families completing the survey in Spanish consistently reported lower outcome attainment than both Hispanic and non-Hispanic families completing the FOS in English. They also reported lower perceptions of the helpfulness of early intervention, but the three groups did not differ with regard to perceptions of family-centered practices. Factor analysis revealed that constructs assessed by the survey are similar for both the English and Spanish version of the survey. Hierarchical linear models analysis within the Spanish-language group indicated that family-centered practices were significantly related to family outcomes.
Raspa, M., Hebbeler, K. & Bailey, D. (August, 2009). A Guide to Analyzing Data from the Family Outcomes Survey.
The Family Outcomes Survey provides a way for state and local programs serving young children to assess the extent to which families have achieved a variety of outcomes. This document provides suggestions on how to analyze the data from the survey; the analyses in turn can be used to plan for program improvement.
Bailey, D., Hebbeler, K., Olmsted, M., Raspa, M., & Bruder, M. (2008). Measuring family outcomes: Considerations for large-scale data collection in early intervention. Infants & Young Children, 21 (3), 194-206
Early-intervention programs are increasingly being asked to provide data showing effectiveness. Usually this means proving benefit for children, but here we argue that documenting benefit for families is also important. A recent national effort has led to the identification of 5 desired outcomes for families whose children participate in early-intervention programs. This article discusses issues and considerations in documenting family outcomes in the context of large-scale assessments, and describes the initial development of a survey instrument that could be useful in such efforts.
Bailey, D. B., Nelson, L., Hebbeler, K., & Spiker, D. (2007). Modeling the impact of formal and informal supports for young children with disabilities and their families.. Pediatrics, 120, e992-e1001.
This paper examines factors related to perceived impact of early intervention on children with disabilities and their families. Findings reinforce the role of high-quality services in maximizing perceived impact. They also highlight the important role of informal support in promoting optimism and confidence in parenting.
Bailey, D. B. Jr., Bruder, M.B., Hebbeler, K., Carta, J., Defosset, M., Greenwood, C., Kahn, L., Mallik, S., Markowitz, J., Spiker, D., Walker, D., & Barton, L. (2006). Recommended Outcomes for Families of Young Children with Disabilities. Journal of Early Intervention, 28, 227-243.
This article describes five outcomes by which the effectiveness of services for families could be assessed: (a) families understand their child's strengths, abilities, and special needs; (b) families know their rights and advocate effectively for their child; (c) families help their child develop and learn; (d) families have support systems; and (e) families are able to gain access to desired services and activities in their community. These outcomes provide a framework for documenting whether early intervention and preschool programs are providing demonstrable benefits for families, and provide the basis for developing systems to measure such benefits.
Bailey, D. B., Bruder, M. B., & Hebbeler, K. (April, 2006). Guidance for States in Documenting Family Outcomes for Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education.
This paper addresses the range of decisions states need to make related to collecting family outcome information, including assessment selection and logistical issues such as survey distribution and timelines, use of ID numbers, and methods for increasing return rates.
Bailey, D. B. (February, 2006). Family Outcomes Survey: Overview and Status.
This paper describes the preliminary work done on the Family Outcomes Survey, including the initial scale development, field testing with families, and revisions.
National-State Family Data (Indicator C4) Graphing Template
This Microsoft Excel template allows states to take their OSEP C4 data (Family Outcomes) and compare their state data to the national data in the three sub-indicator areas. After entering your state's family data into the worksheet, the graphs can be copied and pasted into presentations, reports, and other files.
State Approaches to Family Outcomes Measurement
Information on states' plans for meeting the OSEP reporting requirement is available on the State Approaches page. Documents include a color-coded map of family survey approaches and an Activites Table outlining family survey tools used, populations included, and criteria for representativeness reported by each state.
The State Activites and Materials section also includes a page for state-developed resources related to family outcomes.
Collecting and Using Family Survey Data
Recent materials related to collecting and using family outcomes data include:
- Illinois Part C online training module: The Impact of Early Intervention on Families
- Part C Family Survey Guide, Mid-South Regional Resource Center. Developed to assist states in developing improvement activities using parent survey data. February 5, 2010.
- Weight, Weight, Don't Tell Me! By Charles DiSogra. Overview article on weighting survey data.
- Getting better results through parent involvement: Two states' examples of improvement in Indicator B-8, Data Accountability Center (DAC) presentations; November 24, 2009.
- Using family survey data for program improvement, ECO Center Webinar- October 7, 2009.
- Is your family survey data representative? Presentation at the June 2009 Outcomes Conference.
- Strategies for Increasing Response Rates, Report prepared by the National Post-School Outcomes Center.
- Data-based decision making: Tools for improving practice- May 2012 webinar in which presenters shared a tool designed to help states use data to facilitate systemic state and local improvement. The tool illustrates the use of root cause analysis and other strategies for data-based decision making that improve practices.
Informing Families About Outcomes Measurement
A number of states have developed materials to inform parents about child and family outcomes requirements, how outcomes measurement systems will be implemented in their state, and how the requirements will affect them and their children. Links to these materials are available on the Informing Families page.