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Best Starts actively learns from our programs and listens to our communities to ensure that our children and youth across King County are happy, healthy, safe, and thriving. Evaluating our programs allows Best Starts to use science and data to analyze and learn from our past progress in an effort to strengthen our work and deepen our impact. We funded several external partners to help us analyze a few areas where Best Starts is breaking new ground. As Best Starts continues to conduct comprehensive evaluations, we look forward to future data collection opportunities that will continually guide our work across King County.

Our Areas of Work

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.

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.

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.

Other Technical Reports

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.


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

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.

Best Starts partnered with School Readiness Consulting (SRC) to conduct a landscape analysis of infant and early childhood mental health in King County. The landscape accomplishes three goals: it establishes 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 clarifies the effectiveness of and gaps in current services; And finally, it explores how programs advance equity for families and children. These findings will be used to inform a King County strategic plan for funding future public investments and improving the quality of programs.

Future evaluation reports can be viewed here

Contact Us

Phone 206-263-9105

TTY Relay: 711

Fax: 206-296-5260