Poster Paper: Independent Evaluation of the Social Impact Bond-Funded Child-Parent Center Expansion Project

Friday, November 4, 2016
Columbia Ballroom (Washington Hilton)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Erika Gaylor, Kate Ferguson and Donna Spiker, SRI International

In this paper, we will present early findings from an evaluation of a Social Impact Bond (SIB)-funded early childhood project in Chicago Public Schools. A SIB is an innovative funding mechanism where private businesses leverage investments to support programs with potentially high returns on investment (AFSCME, 2015; Giantris & Pinakiewicz, 2013). In a SIB-financed project, clearly defined and measurable performance goals for the program’s services are determined up front. Private funders pay for the cost of the services, and government pays back the private funders, with a reasonable return, only if the performance goals (or outcomes) are achieved. Some of the potential benefits of using SIB funding include helping to shift funds from remediation to prevention activities and funding programs and services that work. It also helps provide capital for projects that may not otherwise have been implemented.

In the city of Chicago, SIB funding is being used by the city and the public school district to pay for the operational costs of expanding the availability of the Child-Parent Center (CPC) preschool model to low-income four year olds. The CPC model has a strong evidence-base demonstrating better academic achievement, higher graduation rates, and lower special education rates (Reynolds, 1995; Reynolds, Temple, Robertson, & Mann, 2002). This evidence was the basis for the selection of the three outcomes used to evaluating the success of the SIB-CPC expansion: kindergarten readiness, special education placement, and third grade reading scores.

This presentation will present the findings from the project’s first evaluation report, which focuses on kindergarten readiness of the first of four cohorts of participants – four year olds attending part- or full-day preschool at one of five sites that received SIB funding in the 2014-15 school year. Kndergarten readiness is defined as scoring at or above the 50% percentile on at least 5 of the 6 domains on a formative measure of children's development that was completed by teachers in the spring of the children’s preschool year. This presentation also will provide context for these kindergarten readiness findings and additional information on how the repayment transactions work. Finally, the presentation will provide information on how the evaluation is measuring special education placement and third grade literacy using extant data and a comparison group.


AFSCME, Center for Effective Government, EOI, ITPI, Keystone Research Center, Refund America Project. (2015). A guide to evaluating Pay for Success programs and social impact bonds. Available from the In the Public Interest website:

Giantris, K., & Pinakiewicz, B. (2013). Pay for success: Understanding the risk trade-offs. Community Development Investment Review, 9(1), 35-39.

Reynolds, A. J. (1995). One year of preschool intervention or two: Does it matter? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 10, 1-31.

Reynolds, A. J., Temple, J. A., Robertson, D. L., & Mann, E. A. (2002). Age 21 cost-benefit analysis of the Title I Chicago Child-Parent Centers. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 24(4), 267-303.