An outcome is a benefit experienced as a result of services provided to children and families. Child and family outcomes are connected. A positive outcome experienced by the family serves to promote the child outcomes and outcomes achieved by the child benefit the family. Data is collected on outcomes to measure individual and program progress.
The goal of early intervention and early childhood special education is to enable young children with disabilities to be active and successful participants during their early childhood years and in the future. States collect, analyze, and use data on three child outcomes to measure individual child and family progress toward improved results and to improve their systems and services.
Child Outcomes include:
States use several different approaches to measure child outcomes as illustrated in the national maps ECTA develops annually. Most states use the Child Outcomes Summary Process, a team process for summarizing information about a child’s functioning across multiples sources.
Early intervention and early childhood special education also support families in a variety of individualized ways to help them care for their children and have the resources they need to participate in their own desired family and community activities. States collect, analyze, and use data on the percent of families participating in Part C who report that early intervention services have helped.
Family outcomes include:
States use surveys to collect family outcomes data. Many states use the ECO Family Outcomes Surveys and the NCSEAM Survey to collect data. Some states have developed their own survey.
State early intervention and preschool special education programs collect, analyze, and use child and family outcomes data to measure progress towards reaching the best individual and system-wide outcomes. Child and family outcomes data must be valid in order to make decisions about system and practice improvements. Ensuring quality data is a multistep process. This includes:
States must have high quality data on child and family outcomes linked to other demographic information, service and systems data.
Local programs implement high-quality, individualized services as required under IDEA to achieve positive outcomes for young children with disabilities and their families. To support local programs, the state system is responsible for critical functions such as establishing personnel requirements, planning for a fiscally sound system, providing policy and procedural guidance, and delivering technical assistance to support local programs and personnel. The local programs are responsible for the implementation of high-quality, individualized services as required under IDEA. A high-quality state system paired with the implementation of effective practices at the local level is aimed at achieving positive outcomes for young children with disabilities and their families.