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Best Starts for Kids is committed to evaluating all of our strategies and programs to ensure that we are moving toward our vision of happy, healthy, safe and thriving youth and families. Best Starts for Kids reports and evaluations are guided by community knowledge as well as science and research in an effort to continually reflect community needs and deepen our impact.


Evaluation and Technical Reports

In 2017, Best Starts for Kids partnered with School Readiness Consulting (SRC) along with support of other key partners to conduct a landscape analysis to learn about the strengths, opportunities, and challenges with Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) services across King County. The landscape analysis accomplished three goals: it established a common understanding of the current scope of services available for supporting the mental health of infants, toddlers, children up to age five and their families; It clarified the effectiveness of and gaps in current services; And finally, it explored how programs advance equity for families and children.

This analysis led to a community strategic plan to support improving social and emotional outcomes for children and families. By implementing the strategic plan, we aim to strengthen Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health services in King County. This project used an approach called “community action research.” From January 2019 through June 2021, we collected stories from a diverse group of families, providers, and community partners. With these stories in mind, we worked with families and community partners on making meaning, setting priorities, planning, and reviewing this report.

Community Summaries

Strategic Plan Summary

Strategic Plan 

Full Report: Landscape Analysis and Strategic Plan

In 2018, Best Starts for Kids (BSK) funded robust capacity-building support for partners who received awards to design programs in two prenatal-to-five strategy areas: home-based services and community-based parenting supports. All partners received tailored, culturally responsive services from a team of capacity builders. BSK partnered with Cardea to conduct an evaluation to understand if capacity building supported initial program implementation, enabled the scale up to full implementation, and helped to achieve positive shifts in organizational capacity. The findings shared are from data collected between August 2019 to March 2021.

The final report will be available in early 2022.

Over the course of October and November 2020, Best Starts for Kids staff and community partners co-hosted a series of thirteen community conversations across a broad range of geographic and cultural communities in King County to listen and learn from Best Starts Champions, partners, and providers. This Community Conversations report shares back what we heard from communities across King County on what went well and what was challenging in the first levy, and what improvements should be considered if the initiative is renewed by King County voters. 



This report details how Best Starts for Kids pivoted due to COVID-19, from implementation impacts to lessons learned between March 2020 and August 2020.

Best Starts for Kids partnered with Seattle Children’s Research Institute to assess three things: Was the program implemented as intended? Was the implementation successful, and how could it be improved? Is School-Based SBIRT an appropriate model for middle-school students? During the year one evaluation period, 2,614 students were screened, and 141 staff were trained as interventionists. All 42 participating schools provided insight during the evaluation.

Best Starts for Kids partnered with Cardea to explore two approaches to childcare health consultation, which builds collaborative partnerships between a trusted consultant (nurses, nutritionists, and other specialists) and children, families, and providers. This healing-centered, trauma-informed approach promotes the health, safety, and development of children in childcare. Using a participatory approach for this evaluation, initial year 1 findings from this evaluation indicate that CCHC gives providers more tools and child care providers learned and implemented more ways to make the child care space safer and support children’s health.

In 2018, Best Starts for Kids partnered with Kindering to work alongside the community to identify needs and recommendations for establishing a cohesive and accessible countywide system of child care health consultation (CCHC) that alleviates race- and place-based inequities. Community and stakeholder engagement was integral to this project and consisted of over 150 conversations with almost 1,500 individuals across King County. Community stakeholders came together starting in 2018 through 2020 to explore the existing and preferred scope of work of child care health consultants in King County. The CCHC Systems Development Report was published in December 2020 to provide community-informed recommendations to bridge the gaps in King County’s current CCHC system and build a community-preferred system of equitable CCHC across the county.


With the Puget Sound Educational Service District, this report is a snapshot of how BSK’s school partnerships are forming, the changes partnerships seek to make, and what schools, districts, community-based organizations , and King County staff can do to support their continued growth with the goals of supporting success and safety for King County’s students. Conducted during the 2018-19 academic year, the evaluation has assessed 31 partnerships at nine schools in five districts that integrate multiple BSK strategy investments. Strong relationships and trust are the foundation of equitable school partnerships.

Best Starts for Kids is partnering with the University of Washington School of Social Work to develop a community and youth-informed tool that measures the impact of Best Starts programs. This tool measures factors that promote positive youth development such as social and emotional development, racial, ethnic and gender identity, and supportive program environments.

This report reviews the technical assistance provided for 25 Requests for Proposals (RFPs) released between June 2017 and January 2019 and identifies recommendations for BSK.

Conducted by The Developmental Disabilities and Early Childhood Supports (DDECS) Division in partnership with Cardea and WithinReach, this landscape analysis improves our understanding of the successes, gaps, and disparities around developmental screening, referral, and connection to services across King County. Information from this landscape analysis will set the stage for future work around universal screening, referral, and connection to services. Data reflected here can only be applied to the providers, caregivers, and communities who participated in this work.

Following the Landscape Analysis, we worked with a group of 12 community experts who guided the development of a Strategic Plan on developmental screening and referral. We hosted three community conversations, one webinar, and 12 focus groups with parents, caregivers and early-childhood providers to draft, re-work and finalize our Strategic Plan. 

Strategic Plan Summary

Strategic Plan

Full Report

Evaluation and Technical Reports - In Progress

With Best Starts funding, The Capacity Collective is currently developing a new data and evaluation tool to measure the impacts of culturally responsive programming across our Prenatal-to-Five programs. This project began in October 2020 and future evaluation reports can be viewed here.

Cardea is conducting a landscape analysis to improve our current understanding of ESIT programs’ impact and reach to children in out-of-home care and/or involved in the state child welfare system. This project will inform how Best Starts can better support parents and families with children in out-of-home care and/or involved in the child welfare system.

Future evaluation reports can be viewed here.

Contact Us

Phone 206-263-9105

TTY Relay: 711

Fax: 206-296-5260