We have submitted comments, below, to the Congressional Record for the recent hearing about Pay for Success Financing and HR 4885. **** The Institute for Child Success respectfully submits the following written comments to the hearing record for your consideration. In these comments, we begin with an overview of our perspective on the benefits of Pay for Success financing, and how these financing models can be particularly advantageous for programs serving our youngest children. We then discuss the substantial benefits of federal involvement, the reasons that legislation is necessary for meaningful federal engagement, and the ways in which H.R. 4885 responds to that need. Like with any new and exciting innovations, we should also resist the temptation to treat Pay for Success financing as a cure for all ills. Indeed, many have voiced significant concerns – including one of the witnesses at the Subcommittee’s hearing on September 9, 2014. We too want to acknowledge the limitations of social impact bonds, and address how 4885 appropriately handles those limitations; we discuss several of these issues at the end of these comments. ****
The Urban Institute’s Pay for Success Initiative today released three new documents as a part of their Early Childhood Education PFS toolkit:
- The State of the Science of Early Childhood Education and Pay for Success
- Using Data to Inform Decisions in Pay for Success Deals
- Early Childhood Education Outcome Measurement and Pricing
As the Urban Institute explains, “This toolkit is designed to guide jurisdictions and their partners through the core elements of a PFS project in early childhood education: the existing evidence for early childhood interventions, the role of data, the measurement and pricing of outcomes, program funding and financing, implementation, evaluation design, and an overview of the limits of standardization with this model. The toolkit includes a series of helpful features, including checklists, charts, and questions for consideration, to help direct and clarify thinking around the feasibility of pay for success to scale what works in early childhood education. Together, these briefs can help jurisdictions decide if pay for success is the right approach for them—and if so, how to get started.”
The toolkit was conceived by a working group at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in 2015 in Denver, CO; the working group includes Accenture, Bank of America, Enterprise Community Partners, Goldman Sachs, the Institute for Child Success, the Nonprofit Finance Fund, The Reinvestment Fund, Salt Lake County, Social Finance US, and Third Sector Capital Partners.
The briefs are useful in how they lay out a range of common questions and challenges in the growing field of early childhood PFS, from “What Is the Evidence on the Benefits of ECE?” to “What Types of ECE Outcomes Might Serve as the Basis for Payment in ECE Pay for Success Projects?” The document can serve as a good primer for those new to the field to begin digger deeper to when and how PFS can work for early childhood.
For those already working on projects in the feasibility study or structuring phase, the appendices may be particularly helpful – the working group team has include a number of lists and tables highlighting answers to frequent questions in early childhood PFS. The appendices may help teams avoid reinventing the wheel where expertise already exists.