Outcome measurement is used to measure the success of a system, program, activity or event. Increasingly, measuring outcomes is becoming core to the work of child, youth and family services in NSW, with organisations asking - "how do we know that all of the work we are doing is making a difference?"
However, most of the decisions about what outcomes to measure for youth services are made by government funding bodies. We were interested in having child, youth and family services co-create their outcomes measurement framework with government.
Across 2015, Youth Action and Family Services NSW partnered with 10 child, youth and family services in the Nepean-Blue Mountains district to develop and implement a shared outcomes framework. The services developed four headline outcomes, which services collected against from July to December, 2015.
The four headline outcome measures were:
- Clients report increased confidence in a relevant life skill;
- Clients report a positive change in circumstance;
- Clients report improved or increased positive connections;
- Clients report "things are getting better" (optimism).
The pilot Project was largely a success, with services using the data to improve and change their service provision, and finding the framework a better fit for their reporting.
The full Project report outlines how the Project was set up, what happened, and the important learning and implications for outcomes measurement more widely.