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town meetingUrban Institute researchers evaluate federal, state, and local government programs and policies. Early on, we pioneered performance-management techniques government agencies still use to evaluate and improve public services, from economic development to garbage collection. And now we're adapting those strategies for the nonprofit sector—at home and abroad. Read more.

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Data Use for Continuous Quality Improvement: What the Head Start Field Can Learn from Other Disciplines A Literature Review and Conceptual Framework (Research Report)
Teresa Derrick-Mills, Heather Sandstrom, Sarah L. Pettijohn, Saunji Fyffe, Jeremy Koulish

This report summarizes research on the processes, facilitators, and impediments to data use for continuous quality improvement; develops a conceptual framework representing the elements of data use for continuous quality improvement; provides linkages between the disciplines from which the literature was drawn and the Head Start field; and suggests areas for future research. The review reflects seminal and current works that originate in empirical and professional sources in the fields of educational leadership and management, health care management, nonprofit leadership and management, public management, and organizational learning and development. The resulting conceptual framework describes the elements of leadership, analytic capacity, commitment of resources, professional development, a culture of collaborative inquiry, a continuous cycle, organizational characteristics, and environmental characteristics.

Posted to Web: January 22, 2015Publication Date: January 22, 2015

Observations of Leaders Driving Changes in State Government: Leadership Tools and Lessons from Two Work Support Strategies States (Research Report)
Heather Hahn, Maeve Gearing, Michael Katz, Ria Amin

Change in state government, as in other large public and private organizations, is an uphill battle. In social and health service agencies, public officials seeking change face myriad challenges, including frequent turnover, limited funding, and lengthy legal and regulatory processes. Despite these obstacles, change is possible and is often driven by strong leaders. In this brief focused on leadership, we examine how state government officials in Colorado and Illinois, two states participating in the Work Support Strategies project, seized opportunities, addressed challenges, and led change.

Posted to Web: January 21, 2015Publication Date: January 21, 2015

Challenges and Choices for the New Mayor: Leveraging the Power of Open Data to Improve City Services (Research Report)
Kathryn L.S. Pettit, Jonathan Schwabish

Open data—data that can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose—is key to creating an accountable and effective government. Mayor Bowser and her staff will need to firmly establish the policy and practice of open data, catalog current data assets, build a supportive culture, and engage external stakeholders

Posted to Web: December 31, 2014Publication Date: December 31, 2014

Evaluation: Rebuild by Design Phase I (Research Report)
Carlos Martin, Pamela Lee, Elizabeth Oo, Helen Ho, Abigail Baum, Rolf Pendall, Diane K. Levy

Rebuild by Design launched in June 2013 by the federal Hurricane Sandy Task Force. HUD, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the JPB Foundation partnered with the Urban Institute to evaluate the first phase of RBD from conception through design awards. The evaluation found that RBD’s implementation held true to its innovative vision for integrating design competition into disaster recovery and its ambition for regional and resilient infrastructure. Leadership among the core partners and the magnitude of the $1 billion in CDBG-DR funding for awards motivated all of the key stakeholders in spite of an expedited timeframe and daunting requirements.

Posted to Web: October 13, 2014Publication Date: October 13, 2014

Joint SNAP and Medicaid/CHIP Program Eligibility and Participation in 2011 (Research Report)
Laura Wheaton, Victoria Lynch, Pamela J. Loprest, Erika Huber

More than one-third of all children were eligible for both Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) benefits in 2011, the most recent year of data available. Far fewer adults were jointly eligible. Reasons for the difference include children’s high poverty rates and state eligibility policies. However, joint participation rates (the percent of eligibles receiving benefits) suggest that many eligibles were not participating. In four out of five of states with available data, less than three-quarters of those jointly eligible (adults and children) were receiving both benefits. Efforts to streamline and integrate application systems have the potential to improve program reach to families in need.

Posted to Web: September 29, 2014Publication Date: September 29, 2014

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