Foundation Selects Salt Lake County, Utah, as Evidence2Success Partner
The Foundation has selected Salt Lake County, Utah, as one of the next communities to implement Evidence2Success, a framework that brings public agency and resident leaders together to use data and proven programs to improve child well-being.
Salt Lake County was selected, in part, because of its leadership in using innovative financing methods to invest in its children, launching the nation’s first effort to finance public preschool education using a pay‐for‐success model in 2013. The model generated $7 million to expand programs for children from low‐income families.
“Salt Lake County impressed us with a strong coalition that includes leaders from the major systems that serve children along with residents and young people who are ready to roll up their sleeves to invest in kids in a different way,” said Suzanne Barnard, director of the Foundation’s Evidence-Based Practice Group.
The Salt Lake County effort will focus initially on Kearns Township and several adjacent neighborhoods that are part of its public school systems. Kearns, the most diverse township in the county, with a third of its residents under the age of 18, is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the Evidence2Success framework.
Evidence2Success helps public system leaders and community residents work together to gather data on the needs and strengths of local youth, use the data to set priority areas to improve the well-being of young people and shift public funding to address those needs with programs that research has proven effective.
As part of the Evidence2Success partnership, the Casey Foundation will provide a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $150,000 in local funds dedicated to evidence-based programs that will be chosen through the framework. But beyond its grant dollars, the Foundation provides tools and technical assistance, including hands-on coaching, public financing strategies and access to the Blueprints database of evidence-based programs to help communities implement more effective approaches for children.
“With this funding, we will be able to determine how children in Kearns are doing today, choose programs that are proven to work in areas where kids aren’t thriving and develop financing and action plans to ensure the effort continues and succeeds,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.
Salt Lake County has assembled an initial steering committee of 22 members to oversee the Evidence2Success process. This group will use data from the Student Health and Risk Prevention (SHARP) Statewide Survey, taken every two years by 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th graders in the Granite School District, to assess the strengths and needs of local young people and set priorities for choosing programs. Young people are being directly engaged in the process. Students in Kearns will be able to use maps, data and other tools to craft their own vision and plan for the future of the area and present their work to parents, consultants and partners. The partnership also will engage youth in similar ways through other youth-based organizations, including those hosted by cultural and faith groups.
The Foundation introduced the Evidence2Success framework in two neighborhoods in Providence, R.I., starting in 2012. Under the leadership of the Providence Children and Youth Cabinet, community and system leaders in those communities used data from the Youth Experience Survey to choose three priority areas: school absenteeism, anxiety and depression and delinquency. The group has chosen six evidence-based programs – three of which are underway and serving more than 2,000 young people. The Children and Youth Cabinet recently received a state grant of up to $1 million to expand the use of those programs over the next four years.