Frontiers of Innovation

FIND: Using Science to Coach Caregivers

Innovation in Action

FIND: Using Science to Coach Caregivers

At Children’s Home Society of Washington, social service providers are using video clips of parents interacting with their young children to help the parents identify their own strengths and learn which interactions best promote healthy development. Created in partnership with researchers at the University of Oregon and Oregon Social Learning Center, this intervention supports positive interactions in young families facing adversity and models an innovative co-creation and testing process for science-based strategies. Learn more in this Innovation in Action video, the second in this series of portraits that focuses on innovative, collaborative work as part of FOI.

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Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes-A Theory of Change

Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes: A Theory of Change

This 5-minute video depicts a theory of change from the FOI community for achieving breakthrough outcomes for vulnerable children and families. It describes the need to focus on building the capabilities of caregivers and strengthening the communities that together form the environment of relationships essential to children’s lifelong learning, health, and behavior. 

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The Frontiers of Innovation (FOI) initiative is committed to driving transformative change for young children whose needs are not currently being met. Adverse experiences can derail children’s healthy development, creating learning, behavior, and health challenges that place heavy burdens at the individual, family, community, and national levels. In collaboration with a broad network of people and organizations across North America, FOI is working to drive the design of intervention strategies grounded in scientific research that produce breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity.

FOI seeks to encourage creativity, experimentation, risk-taking, and learning from failure in order to drive change. Its work draws on advances in the biological, behavioral, and social sciences to:

  • Determine what causes changes in child developmental trajectories.
  • Formulate new theories about how to produce better child outcomes.
  • Design, test, and measure the effectiveness of new interventions that strengthen the foundations of learning, behavior, and health.

More specifically, FOI’s work is guided by the theory that we must build the capabilities of adults caregivers in order to achieve significant outcomes for children. By supporting the development of adults’ self-regulation skills, executive functioning, and mental health, members of the FOI community hope to enhance employability, resulting in improved economic and social stability of the family for an even larger impact on young children.

Three features define FOI’s work:

  • A core knowledge base that combines insights from scientific research, program evaluation, and on-the-ground experience. By adopting this knowledge and incorporating it into their work, practitioners, philanthropists, researchers, policymakers, and community leaders are looking beyond past successes to create new intervention strategies.

  • A culture of innovation that embraces risk-taking and adapts quickly in order to drive significant change. This framework encourages FOI community members to collaborate and test new approaches, guided by a shared plan for action.

  • A growing number of people who are assuming leadership roles. FOI supports the development of a leadership that is diverse—geographically, politically, culturally, racially, and professionally—and committed to achieving breakthrough outcomes.

FOI Activities

FOI is pursuing these objectives in collaboration with a network of working groups at the program, community, and state or provincial levels. Together, they are co-creating, testing, and measuring the relative impacts of innovative policies and program strategies in order to identify the “active ingredients” of successful interventions.

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Innovation in Washington StateInnovation in Washington State

Among the 
innovation clusters emerging within the FOI community, the state of Washington represents the leading edge.

Read more about innovation in Washington state >>

FOI Associates

Associates of FOI work collaboratively with Center staff on driving innovation in the service of achieving breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity.

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FOI WebinarsFrontiers of Innovation Webinar Series

Since 2012, FOI has hosted a series of webinars for its community members. These interactive, hour-long sessions have provided an opportunity to share scientific and practice-related knowledge across FOI’s broad network of practitioners, philanthropists, researchers, policymakers, and community leaders. Webinars are now open to the public. In addition, a selection of past FOI webinar recordings are archived for on-demand viewing.

View past webinar recordings >>


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Major support for the Frontiers of Innovation Initiative is currently being provided by: The Alliance for Early Success, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bezos Family Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Buffett Early Childhood Fund, Child Welfare Fund, Hemera Foundation, Palix Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and An Anonymous Donor.