Roundtable: Enhancing the Data and Evidence Movement in States and Localities
(Family and Child Policy)

Friday, November 3, 2017: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Comiskey (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  John Hutchins, MDRC
Moderators:  John Hutchins, MDRC
Speakers:  Erin Dalton, Allegheny County, Department of Human Services, John Q. Easton, The Spencer Foundation, Jenni Owen, Office of North Carolina Governor and Kathy Stack, Laura and John Arnold Foundation

For the past two decades, much attention has been focused on the bipartisan federal commitment to investing in rigorous research, tying funding to evidence, and improving the utility of data systems. Yet, most education and social policy and program decisions are made at the state and local level –and that’s where the future of the “evidence movement” may lie. While the Trump Administration’s support of evidence-based policymaking remains unclear, states and localities — with the help of philanthropy —are using data and rigorous evidence to develop policies and make funding decisions, enhance the effectiveness of programs, and improve the lives of citizens, particularly low-income individuals and families. This APPAM roundtable, the ninth in an annual series on evidence-based policymaking, will focus on the growing evidence movement in states and localities. Panelists include the policy director for Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina, two foundation executives (and former federal officials) who support evidence-building at the local level, and a Pennsylvania county official who is using data to improve human services programs. This proposal stems from roundtables that Jenni Owen and John Hutchins have organized at each APPAM conference since 2009 on the major growth in attention to and use of evidence in education and social policymaking. We began in 2009 with a look at “evidence-based policymaking (EBP),” focusing on the new emphasis on EBP at the federal level and across the nation. In 2010, the panelists considered whether EBP was “for real” — as would likely be revealed by its staying power during tight budget times. The 2011 roundtable examined the hot topic of “scaling up” evidence-based programs as a critical challenge for sustaining evidence-based work in policy and practice. The focus in 2012 was on the future of EBP in a time of unprecedented fiscal constraints. In 2013-2015, we focused on challenges, successes, and politics of evidence-based policymaking in states and localities and on particularly successful policymaker-researcher collaborations at the state and local levels. Last year, we forecast the future of the evidence movement in a new Administration.

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