Using a logic model to evaluate the Kids Together early education inclusion program for children with disabilities and additional needs
Despite clear evidence that learning and social opportunities for children with disabilities and special needs are more effective in inclusive not segregated settings, there are few known effective inclusion programs available to children with disabilities, their families or teachers in the early years within Australia. The Kids Together program was developed to support children with disabilities/additional needs aged 0¿8 years attending mainstream early learning environments. Using a key worker transdisciplinary team model, the program aligns with the individualised package approach of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Aim This paper reports on the use of a logic model to underpin the process, outcomes and impact evaluation of the Kids Together program. Methods The research team worked across 15 Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) centres and in home and community settings. A realist evaluation using mixed methods was undertaken to understand what works, for whom and in what contexts. The development of a logic model provided a structured way to explore how the program was implemented and achieved short, medium and long term outcomes within a complex community setting. Discussion and conclusion Kids Together was shown to be a highly effective and innovative model for supporting the inclusion of children with disabilities/additional needs in a range of environments central for early childhood learning and development. The use of a logic model provided a visual representation of the Kids Together model and its component parts and enabled a theory of change to be inferred, showing how a coordinated and collaborative approached can work across multiple environments.
K. Clapham, C. Manning, K. Williams, G. O'Brien & M. Sutherland, "Using a logic model to evaluate the Kids Together early education inclusion program for children with disabilities and additional needs", Evaluation and Program Planning 61 (2017) 96-105.