Early Childhood Development

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Shared Framework

Shared framework for reporting on progress in improving and expanding Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs and services

In order to help ensure consistency in the type of information that they provide to the public about their activities and expenditures under the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Early Childhood Development Agreement, governments have agreed on a shared framework for reporting. The shared framework provides a set of principles and guidelines for annual reporting by each government on their progress in improving and expanding the programs and services in which they are investing as part of the ECD Agreement. The full text of the shared framework, as agreed upon by governments, is provided below.

1. Introduction/Background

Public reporting is a key element of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Early Childhood Development Initiative. The September 2000 First Ministers’ Meeting Communiqué on Early Childhood DevelopmentFootnote 1 states that:

“…First Ministers believe in the importance of being accountable to Canadians for the early childhood development services that they deliver. Clear public reporting will enhance accountability and will allow the public to track progress in improving the well-being of Canada’s young children. Regular measuring of, and reporting on early childhood development provides governments and others with a powerful tool to inform policy-making and to ensure that actions are as focussed and effective as possible.

Therefore, First Ministers commit their governments to:

  • report annually to Canadians on their investments and their progress in enhancing programs and services in the four areas described above Footnote 2, beginning with establishing a baseline of current early childhood development expenditures and activities. Governments will begin reporting within one year and will strive to continue to improve the quality of reporting over time;
  • develop a shared framework, including jointly agreed comparable indicators to permit each government to report on progress in improving and expanding early childhood development programs and services within the areas for action described above. The framework will be developed in a manner that recognizes the different starting points and pressures in each jurisdiction and is informed by their diverse priorities. Examples would include indicators of the availability and growth of programs and services related to pregnancy, birth and infancy; parenting and family supports; early childhood development, learning and care; and community supports. Governments will report on the results of this work by September 2002 and annually thereafter, beginning with the development of indicators in areas identified as priorities by jurisdictions, and expanding with the overall development of early childhood development programs and services…”

2. Purpose

As noted in the communiqué, “the purpose of performance measurement is for all governments to be accountable to their publics, not to each other.”

The purpose of the shared framework is to provide a set of principles and guidelines, “including jointly agreed comparable indicators, to permit each government to report on progress in improving and expanding early childhood development programs and services” within the four areas for action identified by First Ministers.

In addition to their commitment to report on programs and services, governments also committed to report regularly on an agreed upon set of indicators of child well-being. However, this commitment is being addressed by governments as part of a separate process and therefore lies outside of the scope of this shared framework.

3. Underlying principles/Considerations

Reporting by governments will be informed by the following statements included in the Early Childhood Development Communiqué:

  • “The framework will be developed in a manner that recognizes the different starting points and pressures in each jurisdiction and is informed by their diverse priorities.”
  • Governments “will strive to improve the quality of reporting over time.”
  • “First Ministers agree that governments will consult third parties to assist, as appropriate, in developing indicators and assessing progress on early childhood development.”

In addition to specific direction from the Communiqué, provincial and territorial governments agree that:

  • there is a significant diversity in the provision of early childhood development programs and services across the country and that there are varying data systems and capacities to report; and
  • reports on progress in improving and expanding early childhood development programs and services will acknowledge the federal funding contribution to the province or territory in support of early childhood development.

4. Guidelines

a. Scope of reporting using the shared framework

Each government will report annually, using the shared framework, on the activities that they have selected as priorities for investment. Reports will indicate changes that have been implemented related to prior year investments. Reports will also indicate in which of the four areas for action governments have made investments under the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Early Childhood Development Initiative. The four areas are:

  • promote healthy pregnancy, infancy, and birth;
  • improve parenting and family supports;
  • strengthen early childhood development, learning, and care; and
  • strengthen community supports.

b. Types of information to be reported

i. Descriptive information

Reports will contain the following descriptive information on programs and services that have been improved and/or expanded:

  • program objectives;
  • target population;
  • program description;
  • department(s) responsible; and
  • delivery agent(s).

Descriptive information may also be provided on the following areas related to program development, improvement, and/or integration, as appropriate:

  • intersectoral linkages;
  • consultation and community involvement;
  • community capacity-building;
  • voluntary or private sector participation;
  • program evaluation findings;
  • program models;
  • pilot project results;
  • changes in regulatory environment; and
  • capital and/or infrastructure investments.

ii. Program indicators

As appropriate, governments may report on programs and services using additional indicators to those described below.

Expenditures

Governments will report on changes in expenditures on ECD programs and services relative to the prior fiscal year.

For programs and initiatives providing direct services to clients:

Availability

Governments will report on the availability of early childhood development programs and services funded under the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Early Childhood Development Initiative using one or more of the following indicators:

  • number of clients served (i.e. number of children served, number of families served, and/or number of program “spaces” or equivalent);
  • number of program sites.
Accessibility

Where the objective of an investment by governments is to improve accessibility, governments will report on one or more of the following indicators of accessibility:

  • increase in the percentage of the target population served;
  • change in the socio-demographic profile of the client population
Affordability

Where the objective of an investment by governments is to improve affordability, governments will report on changes in the fee and/or subsidy structures of the relevant programs.

Quality

Where the objective of an investment by governments is to improve quality, governments will report on one or more indicators of quality, such as:

  • improvement in the education / training of service providers;
  • increases in wage rates;
  • increases in provider-to-client ratios;
  • increases in client satisfaction.

For other programs and initiatives related to the four areas for action (for example, research, public education, information, and related activities):

Governments will report on descriptive information and expenditures as indicated above.

c. Mechanisms and timing

The public reporting requirements set out in this shared framework can be met through a number of vehicles including: stand alone reports, new or existing public reports on children, and departmental reports and/or business plans.

Governments agree to inform other governments of the vehicle they will use to meet reporting requirements and to provide advance notice, wherever possible, to other governments regarding the approximate date of release for their respective early childhood development reports.

Governments will report annually on their investments in early childhood development and on their progress in enhancing programs and services in the four areas for action, beginning in September 2002.

5. Review of the shared framework

First Ministers have committed to “improve the quality of reporting over time.” After the release of the first set of reports based on the shared framework, officials may undertake a review of the shared framework and make recommendations to Ministers responsible for Social Services and Health as required.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

The Government of Quebec has stated that while sharing the same concerns on early childhood development, Quebec does not adhere to the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Early Childhood Development Initiative because sections of it infringe on its constitutional jurisdiction on social matters. Quebec intends to preserve its sole responsibility for developing, planning, managing and delivering early childhood development programs.

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Footnote 2

The four areas are: promote healthy pregnancy, infancy, and birth; improve parenting and family supports; strengthen early childhood development, learning, and care; and strengthen community supports.

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Date Modified:
2017-03-23