Ready by 21® Indicators: Initial Recommendations to Maryland

Across the country, states are working to develop indicators that present a full picture of the lives of young people, monitoring both problems they hope to help young people avoid, and positive strengths they hope to help young people build. With support from the Open Society Institute, the Forum for Youth Investment has been helping the Maryland Partnership for Children, Youth and Families adjust their current set of indicators to better incorporate youth outcomes. Ready By 21 Indicators: Initial Recommendations to Maryland captures the Forum's thinking about indicator work

The Forum approaches tasks such as this one by first creating a framework, and then backing up into the specifics — be they specific policies, indicators or programs. The Forum has found that starting with a carefully constructed framework helps ensure that decisions are made strategically and intentionally. As the Lilly Endowment once said, "Youth development is not a happenstance manner." Starting from a clear framework is one way to help ensure that indicator selections do not occur in a happenstance manner either. Frameworks also help ensure that there are no "blind spots" — critical areas of a young person’s development which may be unintentionally overlooked.

This paper: 1) creates an overarching framework within which to consider youth indicators; 2) maps existing state indicators into the framework to reveal gaps; and 3) offers options to fill the gaps by providing examples of indicators collected by the federal government and other states. We believe that this approach — starting with a framework, mapping current indicators into it and filling gaps, is one that all states could benefit from.

Publishing Date: 
August 15, 2002
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