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A Rewired System

A Measurement and Evaluation Framework for the Rewiring Initiative
Published: May 29, 2020 | Updated: February 2, 2021

Tennyson Center’s Rewiring Initiative aims to significantly change how Colorado’s child welfare sector approaches families affected by child neglect and abuse.

This initiative will provide Colorado a roadmap that leverages early, family-centered approaches and interventions that support lasting solutions for families to help them stabilize, heal, and reintegrate into their communities.

Ultimately, the goals of this multi-county and sector collaboration are to:

  • Reduce the number of children and families entering the child welfare system by providing interventions before child welfare services are needed;
  • Improve the quality of child welfare services for children and families who need them; and
  • Reshape the flow of local and state funding to ensure that primary and secondary prevention and high-quality direct services can be sustained for all who need them.

The Rewiring Initiative will include multiple counties that are committed to using the funds to create a system focused on preventing children from entering the child welfare system. Led by county human services agencies, each participating county is collaborating with community partners to provide these preventive services.

The Colorado Health Institute is partnering with the Tennyson Center for Children to evaluate the ongoing efforts of this initiative. The evaluation will provide a critical understanding of the impact of proactive prevention services on families. It also will allow rapid cycle response and learning to continue to meet the needs of families and children along the way. And finally, it presents a unique opportunity to understand how systems do or do not change, in order to enable Colorado to serve future generations.

The evaluation plan seeks to operationalize the vision to rewire the system by providing specific research questions and measures that will allow Tennyson and engaged counties to track progress over the course of five years. The evaluation plan is structured into three tiers:

  1. Tier One: The Impact on This Family. An evaluation of how children and families receive services through county human service agencies and their community partners.
  2. Tier Two: The Impact on This Generation. An evaluation to identify opportunities for real-time change, scalability, and replicability for achieving the Rewiring Initiative goals.
  3. Tier Three: The Impact on Future Generations. An evaluation of institutional structures, specifically the flow of funding in the human services system, to identify opportunities to reallocate dollars towards prevention efforts. This includes identifying barriers to changing the financing of the human services system and identifying opportunities to demonstrate small commitments to funding prevention.

Though these analyses are described as distinct, our assessment of these three tiers will be used to measure progress toward a rewired system. In other words, these three tiers are connected — the findings of a communities’ evaluation tiers must be viewed together, not in isolation.  

To learn more about the Rewiring Initiative, read the full framework report.

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