Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

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.

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 Data Analysis

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

State Approaches to 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.

State Framework & Self-Assessment

State Family Outcomes Measurement System (S-FOMS) Framework and Self-Assessment

This framework, originally developed by the Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Center, identifies 7 key components of a high-quality family outcomes measurement system at the state level. The following resources were developed for state Part C and Part B 619/Preschool programs to evaluate and improve their family outcomes measurement system.

  • PDF: State Family Outcomes Measurement System Framework (S-FOMS): Contains background information and the framework’s 7 components, 15 quality indicators and their associated elements of quality. It provides an easy way to review the content of the S-FOMS. (updated November 2017)
  • XLS: S-FOMS Self-Assessment: An Excel-based tool that provides an automated scoring form for states to rate their family outcomes measurement system on the 15 quality indicators and associated elements and to set priorities for improvement. (updated November 2017)
  • PDF: S-FOMS Self-Assessment Guide: Presents general guidance for the self-assessment process and detailed instructions on use of the Excel tool. (updated November 2017)
  • IDEAs that Work: Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

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 H326P170001 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.

Project Officer: Julia Martin Eile     © 2012-2020 ECTA Center

  • UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute