February 23, 2021
By Soojin Conover, NOW-Vital Village Networks
The Child Wellbeing Tracker (CWT) is a tool first developed in 2019 collaboratively by the Networks of Opportunity for Child Wellbeing (NOW) Learning Community, 10 community-led coalitions across the country, to capture the collective actions to promote parent and family engagement across their coalitions. The CWT tracks actions across coalitions to advance child wellbeing, grouped by shared dimensions of work (To learn more about the pilot implementation please visit the dashboard page).
The collective data sharing efforts were carried out through a participatory and community-driven process that began with exploratory group conversations and a user-centered design process. While child health or developmental outcomes have been conventionally considered as indicators of child wellbeing, the NOW Learning Community coalitions recognized the important role of parents and caregivers in advancing child wellbeing, and decided to collect data in the context of parent and family engagement. Although each participant coalition was working on different projects serving different communities, sharing data was possible as they were working with parents, caregivers, and families as part of community engagement efforts. From the shared data during the pilot implementation, we were able to observe what types of activities, programs, and events supporting parents, caregivers, and families happened across the country. We also learned that 44% of the parent and family engagement efforts were made to build connections and strengthen relationships with communities, which implied that the NOW Learning Community coalitions valued authentic relationships with parents and caregivers in the community.
In late 2020, the NOW team hosted an informational meeting to explore what the next phase of this collective data tool could look like and extended an invitation to coalitions outside the NOW Learning Community because the data tool can be improved based on the learnings from the pilot implementation in a way to be applicable to the data work of the participating coalitions. Also, the experience of participating in collecting and sharing data combined with accompanied virtual data workshop sessions can be beneficial to those who are interested in capacity building in data use. During the informational meeting, we shared the initial plans about adding new features to the data sharing process and dashboard design to enhance the data sharing experience, including tracking parent & family engagement during the pandemic, allowing participant coalitions to extract their own data from the dashboard, and providing flexibility in the participation timeline so that the dashboard can exist as a living tool to continuously share stories from communities across the country.
For phase 2, three participant coalitions with strong community/parent leadership - Adelante (CO), Community Resilience Collaborative of Middlesex County (CT), and Generations Forward (WA) - are currently co-designing the data components with the NOW team and collecting data on parent and family engagement. Once the initial dashboard prototype is ready, the NOW team will gather feedback from the participant group and reflect it in the designing process in the next couple of months. In addition to the support of the collective data sharing efforts for the phase 2, the NOW team is planning to host a data workshop with the goal of strengthening participating coalitions capacity building skills in regards to tracking data and utilizing it as a tool for coalition growth. The phase 2 group is hoping to launch the new dashboard page in the early summer of 2021. Please stay tuned and feel free to reach out to Soojin at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating in or learning more about the CWT - NOW’s collective data sharing efforts! This opportunity is open to any coalition that works with families with children to advance child wellbeing and health equity!