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Child Status Index

O'Donnell K | Nyangara F | Murphy R | Nyberg B
Organization: MEASURE Evaluation

Topics: Coordination of OVC care, Orphans and vulnerable children, OVC services

Duke University

The Child Status Index (with its accompanying Child Status Record) is a tool that can be helpful in assessing and tracking priority services a vulnerable child needs. Equally useful for initial assessment and follow-up monitoring, the tool focuses on essential actions and is flexible enough that users can adapt criteria to the local context. Data from the Child Status Index and community mapping of services can be used together to inform coordination of care.

Developed by MEASURE Evaluation and Duke University with PEPFAR and USAID support, the Child Status Index (CSI) is based on six domains with 12 measurable goals related to the six core services that, taken together, approximate a standard for overall child health and well-being. The CSI measures attainment of goals in six domains of care: food and nutrition; shelter and care; protection; health; psychosocial; and education and skills. The index includes a four-point scale for each goal so that the child’s well-being can be assessed as good, fair, bad, or very bad.  A pictorial version of the index facilitates use with illiterate care providers.
The goals themselves, as well as the rating guidance, are phrased in ways that allow for some local variation, yet the measures are still meaningful and specific. The accompanying Child Status Record, which records status over time, indicates services received and identifies critical events that have occurred in the life of the child. 

In October 2012, MEASURE Evaluation issued new guidance on the appropriate use of the Child Status Index to encourage use of the CSI to: 1) help volunteers and service providers build rapport with volunteers and service providers through open-ended questions; 2) orient volunteers and service providers to the holistic  needs of vulnerable children; 3) promote an individualized approach for programs; 4) help focus on whether individual children are achieving desired outcomes; and 5) help volunteers and service providers identify urgent situations.  MEASURE also recommends use of the CSI for individual case management and program monitoring and planning.

The CSI is not recommended for use for targeting or program evaluation purposes.