Let’s not just tinker at the edges—let’s transform our future.
In 2011, our report “Decade of Decline” [PDF] delineated the dismal reality that most leading indicators for children and families were worse than 10 years ago, despite some bright spots and areas of improvement.
Small change comes easy. To affect progress—lasting, game-changing, transformational progress—for Monroe County’s children and youth, we must collaborate even more across individual areas of responsibility and programs, and we must use data and evidence of outcomes to drive decision-making. We have a list of potential strategies to contribute to long-term transformational progress, but our community cannot succeed if they end up as our ideas alone.
Big Ideas for Little Kids.
Children’s Impact Statements: Require public statements assessing the impact (positive, negative, or neutral) of policy and budget changes on measures of children’s health, education, and success in each county, city, and school district annual budget. Similar to environmental impact statements, these will assist policy makers in understanding the direct impact their decisions have on children. Learn more [PDF]
Youth Master Plan for Greater Rochester: Create a plan across all sectors and programs to identify gaps and share information to better leverage already-invested resources for improving kids’ outcomes, pre-natal to age 21. Learn more [PDF]
State of the Children Report Card and Address: Our community has addresses for the State of the County, State of the City, and State of the Schools. But what about the State of Our Children? That address should be a permanent, annual, inter-governmental, and public/private partnership that addresses the challenges and opportunities in ROC the Future’s data-based report card and action plan to improve key indicators of children’s success, cradle to career. Ideally public officials and our entire community will use this report card and annual address to monitor action commitments in policy and funding changes for what children need most and what works best. Learn more [PDF]
Evidence-Based Contract Review: Require agencies that contract with local government and the Rochester City School District for services on behalf of children, youth, and families to supply evidence on their effectiveness in producing outcomes for those served to a team of reviewers, including independent, outside entities. Learn more [PDF]
Public-Private Financing of Children’s Services: Explore innovative financing mechanisms, such as Social Impact Bonds (also known as “pay for success contracts”). This is a new asset class to pay for improved social outcomes that result in public sector savings. For example, every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education saves $7 in reduced expenditures for special education, teen pregnancy, juvenile justice, and more. With Social Impact Bonds, government commits to using a proportion of the savings achieved on the back-end to reward non-government investors who finance the prevention and early intervention services on the front-end. Social impact bonds for high-quality, evidence-based preventive services for children and youth are under development around the world—including in New York City, Chicago, Salt Lake City, and across the country. Learn more [PDF]
Collective Impact: Commit to solving complex, systemic social problems through initiatives that coordinate the efforts of disparate groups across sectors around a clearly defined goal. No single organization can create large-scale, lasting change on its own, and problems cannot be solved by scaling or replicating one program alone. True collective impact is more rigorous and specific than collaboration and requires five elements: a common agenda, shared measurement, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, and backbone support. ROC the Future and Rochester’s Leadership Council for Healthy Weight are examples of collective impact initiatives garnering results in our community.
Check out our blog—Big Ideas, Little Kids—to read and share posts from child advocates in the business, faith, government, and higher education communities. Together, we can make the next decade one of dramatic change and achievement for kids.