Child-Parent Center Pay for Success Initiative

The Problem

In 2013, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel launched the $36 million Chicago: Ready to Learn! initiative to expand school- and community-based learning opportunities while improving the quality of early childhood programs. In 2015, there were still nearly 1,500 4-year-old children in Chicago who qualified for the federal free or reduced lunch program, but did not attend at least a half-day of preschoolThere is evidence that high-quality early care and education can be particularly important for the development of children in low-income families

The Basics

Location: Chicago, IL

Policy area: Early childhood education

Population served: 2,618 4-year-old children living in Chicago Public School Title I attendance areas (neighborhoods with the highest poverty rates) 

Service provider: Chicago Public Schools

Size of investment: $16.9 million

Maximum payments possible: $34 million

Investors: Goldman Sachs Social Impact Fund ($7.5 million senior loan), Northern Trust Company ($5.5 million senior loan), J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation ($3.9 million subordinate loan), Finnegan Family Foundation (grant for evaluation)

Intermediary: Metropolitan Family Services

Other partner: IFF (project coordinator)

Evaluator: SRI International

Evaluation methodology: A descriptive study for kindergarten readiness and third-grade literacy outcomes with no comparison group; and a quasi-experimental design for special education outcomes with a comparison group comprised of kindergarteners who did not attend a City of Chicago Head Start or a Chicago Public Schools preschool program, and are eligible for the federal free or reduced lunch program 

Outcome payors: Chicago Public Schools, City of Chicago

Outcome that yield payments: (1) Decrease in special education, (2) kindergarten readiness, (3) achievement of reading at grade level in third grade

Timeframe: 4 year service delivery term; 17 year repayment term and evaluation period

Project start: December 2014

Photo via Shutterstock.

The Intervention

Intervention: First established in 1967, the Chicago Child-Parent Center Model (CPC) is a half- or full-day early childhood preschool model that emphasizes aligned education and services in high needs communities, for children from pre-kindergarten through the primary grades. The CPCs are a family centered program, focused on the needs of the students and their families to ensure their success in school and beyond. A hallmark of the CPC program is a collaborative team that includes the head teacher, parent resource teacher, and the school community representative that aligns and coordinates services and education for students and their families. Additionally, the CPC program promotes aligned curriculum, intensive family supports and services, parent involvement and engagement, effective learning experiences, and a professional development system for teachers.

Evidence base behind the intervention: The Chicago Longitudinal Study (CLS), a prospective cohort study, investigates the educational and social development of a cohort of 1,539 low-income, minority children who grew up in high-poverty neighborhoods in central-city Chicago and attended CPC preschools in 1985-1986. Using surveys and administrative records, a recent study found positive outcomes for educational attainment for intervention group members compared to control group members. Benefit-cost analyses, such as this one, suggest CPC is cost-beneficial and associated with higher rates of high school completion, lower rates of juvenile arrest, lower rates of arrest for a violent offense, reductions in special education placement, reductions in the rate of grade retention, and reductions in child maltreatment.

The effectiveness of this intervention for the target population had been evaluated, and the service provider had provided this intervention previously.