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Glossary


Benchmark

Goal

Indicator

Milestone

Outcome

Performance Measure

Practice

Program

Result



Benchmark

Another word often used for indicator.

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Goal

Another word often used for outcome.

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Indicator

Information/data that can help us measure whether we are making progress toward a desired outcome. It usually takes several indicators to determine whether an outcome is being achieved. For example, in trying to understand whether children are healthy (an outcome), among the many indicators one can examine are immunization rates, percentage of children covered by health insurance, or the percentage of mothers receiving prenatal care. Benchmark and milestone are two other terms often used for the word indicator.

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Milestone

Another word often used for indicator.

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Outcome

A general goal or result, a bottom-line condition of well-being for children, families or communities. Outcomes relate to the fundamental desires of people and cross over agency, program, and/or public and private sector lines. Examples of outcome areas are "Healthy and Safe Children" and "Strong Families." Typically, many different indicators must be achieved to reach a desired outcome.

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Performance Measure

A measure of how well services are delivered by an agency or program. Performance measures address issues such as the degree to which services are timely, cost-effective, or comply with standards. Unlike an indicator, which measures progress toward a broad outcome, a performance measure gauges how well a program is run. Examples include: percent of child abuse investigations completed within 24 hours of a report, or the amount of child support collected for each dollar spent on child support enforcement.

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Practice

A practice describes either the way a service is delivered or any component/element of a service program and helps answer "how" a program delivers services. Practices include specific elements, activities, procedures, techniques, approaches, concepts, philosophies, and policies. For example, "promote strong ties with a caring adult" is one of many practices employed by programs that work to prevent teen pregnancy.

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Program

A comprehensive set of practices that are designed to achieve one or more desired indicators/outcomes for children, families or communities. Any program may use a number of practices, and any particular practice can be combined with others to make up a program.

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Result

Another word often used for outcome.

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