The experiences children have starting at birth set the foundation for their future learning: a baby’s brain produces a million neural connections each second, and 90 percent of brain development takes place in the first five years. During this critical period, we must ensure all kids get the health services and supports they need to ensure optimal development.
Identifying Metrics to Reward
The principle behind incentivized metrics is simple: the health sector is rewarded for delivering the services deemed most important to people’s long-term health. These metrics are chosen by Oregon’s Metrics and Scoring Committee. In 2018, Children’s Institute collaborated with OPIP and OHA, to form the Health Aspects of Kindergarten Readiness Technical Workgroup to recommend a set of metrics important to kindergarten readiness. The workgroup included CCO representatives, health care providers, early learning hub and program representatives, health care quality measurement experts, and consumer representatives. (See the Additional Resources below for more information on this workgroup.)
Prior to making their recommendations, the workgroup conducted family focus groups to better understand family perspectives on how health services currently support school readiness and how those services could be improved. The communities and participants selected for the focus groups were identified to represent cultural, linguistic, and geographic diversity. Children’s Institute, the Center for Improvement of Child & Family Services, and stakeholder partners already had existing relationships in selected communities and outreach was conducted through our existing networks.
Most participating families were already engaged in, and recruited through, high-quality early learning program and services.
Now the Health and Learning Initiative is crucially positioned to ensure the recommended metrics are developed and implemented in a way that improve health and learning for children from birth through age 5 across Oregon.