Two organizations recently released common outcomes for youth programs and initiatives. These frameworks create a shared language and vision across communities for what success looks like for young people – both incrementally and in the long-run – a cornerstone to achieving collective impact.
The National College Access Network (NCAN) released outcomes for post-secondary access and success, while the National Collaboration for Youth (in partnership with Forum for Youth Investment) outlined general youth outcomes and indicators that focus on health, safety, connectedness and productivity.
The construction of these frameworks, including proposed measurement tools, grounded in available evidence and research, is no easy task – yet the impact can be significant.
With common methods of measuring indicators and outcomes we create an environment which is aligned around practices and policies that support a common end goal for young people: that they are economically self-sufficient, contributing to their communities, and maintaining healthy relationships.
Service providers’ alignment behind common outcomes also results in more efficiency and effectiveness. Without having to work out outcomes and measurement on their own, direct service organizations can focus on ensuring they have evidence-informed and evidence-based practices in place that support these eventual outcomes, and delivering these crucial services. Alignment paves the way for more effective and impactful collaborations.
I am pleased to see the publication of these frameworks, and at Wyman, we look forward to the next level of conversation, as we begin to think about how we put these plans to work!
If you are interested in learning more about youth policy and practice – join us for The Saigh Symposium on Teen Development. Forum for Youth Investment President Karen Pittman, and Dr. Reed Larson of the University of Illinois will lead an engaging discussion on Oct. 25, 2012 at The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.