Case Study: Advising: Ready by Five Program Evaluation in Kent County, Michigan

“How do we evaluate 39 millage-funded programs with an equity and inclusion lens, and plan for improvement?”
Kent County is one of the many communities in the US that are using local tax dollars (millage funding) to fund its early childhood programs, betting on the positive impact proactive support can provide a family. To fully understand the value-add of the 39 programs available to families, Kent County, and the funding administrator First Steps Kent, solicited an evaluation. In 2021, Basis Policy Research was identified to lead the process after an RFP process. All involved recognized the need for an evaluation team member to ensure that an equity and inclusion lens would be utilized throughout the process. Advancing Communities for Equity has played this role since 2021, working alongside the Basis and First Steps Kent, to consider how historically marginalized communities are engaged by programs, and the evaluation process itself. Close examination of outreach and navigation strategies, relationships with community based organizations, and the lived experiences of families has helped inform improved access for families.
Read a blog post about my learnings from the first year of this work.