In Conversation With > Ana Elisa Franco-Labarg from All Our Kin
By Matt Lewis, Associate at 60 Decibels
In a Nutshell: All Our Kin supports US-based family childcare providers with training, a community and support to professionalize their services. They are helping ensure all families have access to high-quality childcare, and supporting career development for childcare providers. The organization was in a period of rapid growth and used Lean Data to listen at scale during this exciting phase. We completed in-depth phone surveys with 116 All Our Kin family childcare providers to hear the impact of this program directly from the beneficiaries’ perspective.
Insight: Across all Connecticut locations, family childcare providers (part of the All Our Kin network) reported exceptionally high levels of satisfaction, highlighting, amongst other things, how the development of new skills led to better jobs, higher income, and a greater sense of community. The Lean Data results gave a snapshot of impact across All Our Kin’s network of family childcare providers and armed their team with insights to inform future discussions with providers.
Action: All Our Kin jumped into action to close the feedback loop with their participants and ensure their voices continued to be at the center of decision-making. All Our Kin went to each of their program sites to have open sessions with their family childcare providers. They used the Lean Data insights as a starting point, went through the data together and talked about what kinds of discussions and new initiatives they would want on an ongoing basis.
Impact: Based on the success of the initial meeting to discuss the Lean Data insights, All Our Kin launched regular discussion groups that are all led by family childcare providers. These conversations help reinforce the community aspect of what All Our Kin is building, and also empower family childcare providers to directly inform decision-making across the organization.
The 60dB Interview:
It seems like it’s been a really busy and exciting year for both of us! I’d love to get an update on how the last year has been for All Our Kin.
We’ve grown a lot over the past few years; three years ago we were at 30 staff members, earlier this year we were at 50 and now we are at 70. We’ve been around for 20 years so this is all recent growth. Finding this many [new team members] who align with our values has been lucky and is influenced by the high regard to which our community holds us.
Given your recent growth, I’d love to know what your motivations for participating in a Lean Data project were.
As we’ve been growing, our programs had become more complex, so we have developed very specific impact measurement tools and processes for particular programs. We get great data from these internally run studies we conduct, but we didn’t have the capacity to really look at our full network of family child-care providers before this Lean Data project. We’d spoken to people at different points of our program so this was a great opportunity to hear from a larger sample.
We hear that a lot from organizations and companies we work with — once you reach a certain point in your growth, there’s a benefit to getting a third-party to help you listen at scale. Were there any specific insights that jumped out to you when you first saw the Lean Data results come in?
From regular conversations with our family childcare providers, I know we do great work and I know the people we work with appreciate what we do but seeing that our NPS score was so high [95!] was huge.
I mean it’s one of the highest scores I’ve ever seen on projects I’ve worked on! After hearing these insights — and from a broader group of providers — were there any changes you made within All Our Kin?
As an organisation, we previously had steering committees with our care providers but as we grew it was harder to figure out what to do across sites and how to manage that.
After we got the Lean Data results, my team went to each of our sites in Connecticut and had sessions with our care providers. We used the Lean Data results as a starting point for discussion.
Every site looked really different which spoke to the community aspect. During these open sessions, we went through the data together and talked about what kinds of provider-led discussion they would want on an ongoing basis as well as things that were being asked for in the Lean Data results, such as peer-to-peer learning.
Now we have started to launch these regular, care provider-led group discussions and it started with the meetings based off of the Lean Data report.
That is awesome to hear! We love how you used the results as an opportunity for discussion and to close the feedback loop with your program participants. Related to this, it seems that this idea of building community among your care providers was also frequently cited as a driver of impact.
Yes, every year we organize a conference that hosts around 200 All Our Kin family childcare providers along with our staff. It’s a day of workshops, keynote speakers, lunch. This year’s was last weekend! In 2018, we surveyed all the childcare providers who participated, although it was not necessarily representative, at the time, close to half our carer network was in attendance.
I’d love to know how you have approached measuring the community aspect of your programs so others can learn from you on this.
We start by asking about community connections, e.g. ‘what are you connected with in the community?’ This helps us see what else family childcare providers are involved with in their community (beyond our program) and also helps us connect to the places in the community where they feel the closest.
It’s also important to ask about community empowerment — e.g. do you feel like you are an active leader in your neighbourhood? Your church (for example)? All of those pieces can help us understand if individuals are community leaders and connected.
Part of what we are doing is working closely with our participants and professionalising the [family childcare] field. We are aiming to highlight that what they are doing is a service to their community, in a different way than most child care centres are.
One more thing, our favourite question is ‘Is there anything else you’d like to share?’
We’re growing so fast and we have started sharing our technical assistance model to other states and communities. As we expand, these Lean Data results communicate our impact to funders and to potential partners in new communities and help make the case for ‘we’re doing great work’. It says: ‘It’s not just us saying we’re valuable, the communities we are working with are saying that too.’