"These principles are the heartbeat of the partnership"
Yvonne Chiu, Multicultural Health Brokers Co-operative
The Evaluation Capacity Network (ECN) is a partnership that formed in response to conversations with stakeholders in the early childhood field. There was a desire to better understand evaluation, develop meaningful evaluation plans and use evaluation results more effectively. However, many challenges existed that made it difficult to conduct evaluations. These included a lack of time, resources, and evaluation expertise. In partnership with community practitioners, engaged scholars, consultants, and public service leaders, the ECN aims to tackle these challenges. We are committed to strengthening evaluation capacity in the early childhood field, to improve programs, policies and day-to-day practices for the wellbeing of children, families, and communities.
Decades of research show that the early years are a time of both promise and risk. Early childhood experiences impact all aspects of development (i.e., cognitive, physical, social, behavioural, emotional, and academic), and early supports can promote long-term positive development.
“Healthy experiences in the early years create a foundation for a lifetime of positive outcomes.”
Evaluation can be used as a tool to enhance early supports and services. It can:
Foster dialogue and reflection;
Identify areas for improvement;
Inform strategies for better programming; and
Advancing evaluation practices in the early childhood field is therefore critical to understanding how we can best support children during their developmental years.
Community-based organizations are facing increasing pressures from funders to evaluate their programs and demonstrate impact. In recent years, the ECN has thus expanded the scope of evaluation support to include the broader social sector. In our efforts, we strive to understand, conduct, and promote evaluations that are culturally relevant and community-driven.