From Governing States and Localities: “The importance of performance measurement in tough fiscal times can’t be overstated, but I also don’t think there’s any more important policy area to which it applies than human services.
Recently, I spoke at a conference for the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) on the fiscal outlook for 2013. Joining me was Bill Pound, executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Both of us predicted that Congress would ultimately cobble together some unsatisfying, short-term gimmick for avoiding the so-called “fiscal cliff,” and we both suggested that whether we went off the cliff or not, folks in human services — including those focused on developmental disabilities — were going to continue experiencing the big fiscal squeeze. I went on to suggest that anyone not focusing more tightly on results-informed budgeting and policy would wind up in even worse shape.
That’s where the National Core Indicators (NCI) project, which tracks outcomes for those with developmental disabilities, comes in. It’s a joint venture between NASDDDS and the Human Services Research Institute, an analytics group based in Cambridge, Mass. It turns out that the NASDDDS has been beating the results-informed budeting drum since the late 1990s. ‘It started around the time states began flirting with managed care,’ says Charles Moseley, associate executive director of NASDDDS. ‘And we were also starting to hear from other directors that they were getting a different kind of question from legislators during budget hearings. They didn’t want to hear about outputs — how many clients we were serving — they wanted to know what difference we were making in these folks’ lives.'”