Results for America praises King County’s revolutionary new approach to creating community partnerships
Results for America, a national research and policy organization dedicated to advancing evidence-based policymaking, praised King County’s revolutionary new approach to creating community partnerships. Researchers cited the county’s Best Starts for Kids initiative as an effective model for making contracts with service providers more accessible, collaborative, and outcome-focused.
The nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based organization is sharing its case study of King County’s new approach with cities, counties, and states, encouraging other metropolitan regions to adopt a similar model.
“We made a commitment with Best Starts for Kids to transform the way we partner with community organizations to make the process more inclusive and more focused on outcomes,” said Executive Constantine. “We are honored that researchers at Results for America consider our new approach to be an effective model for improving the quality of life for the people we serve.”
“For too long, state and local government contracting has been more focused on compliance than outcomes,” said Results for America CEO and Co-Founder Michele Jolin. “We are encouraged by King County’s efforts to shift toward a more data-driven, collaborative, and outcomes-focused contracting process.”
Researchers found that King County’s approach led to a greater diversity of service providers, enhancing equity in service delivery in one of the most diverse regions of the country.
The case study notes that King County’s new contracting practices promote outcomes-focused, preventive, and early intervention services based on rigorous evidence of impact while simultaneously allowing the county to test and build evidence for innovative and community-based approaches.
One of Executive Constantine’s goals with Best Starts for Kids is to increase the number of community-based partners that compete for funding to help the county achieve better health and well-being outcomes, such as increasing the number of babies born at a healthy weight and increasing access to healthy food.
Smaller nonprofit organizations – particularly those that serve communities of color – experience challenges applying for public funding because they do not have the same capacity as larger organizations with resources and staff time dedicated to grant writing. With Best Starts for Kids, King County provides technical assistance to help them compete for funding and actively encourages more nonprofits to participate.
Preliminary results from one of Best Starts for Kids’ request for proposals show that 124 organizations have accessed the technical assistance resources King County now offers, such as data analytics support. Of those organizations, 52 percent had never applied for King County funding before, and 33 percent had never applied for any grant before.
Researchers also praised King County’s focus on delivering measurable results that improve the health and well-being outcomes for its constituents. Unlike the traditional approach to human service contracts that mainly provide funding, Best Starts for Kids partners with funded organizations to provide ongoing guidance and continually measures each program’s performance to ensure it delivers the desired outcomes.
Results for America’s mission is to help decision-makers at all levels of government harness the power of evidence and data to solve the world’s greatest challenges.
Executive Constantine’s Chief of Policy, Carrie Cihak, is one of 16 Results for America local government fellows from metropolitan regions that are advanced in their use of data and evidence to produce results for their communities.
Promoting healthier, more resilient children, youth, families and communities
Best Starts for Kids is a voter-approved initiative led by Executive Constantine to help put every baby born and every child raised in King County on a path toward lifelong success.
It invests in prevention and early intervention strategies that promote healthier, more resilient children, youth, families, and communities. It is considered the most comprehensive approach to childhood development in the United States, starting with prenatal support, sustaining the gain through teenage years, and investing in safe, healthy communities that reinforce progress.