Developing Indicators with Front-line Workers to Improve Child Protection and Care in Colombia

Developing Indicators with Front-line Workers to Improve Child Protection and Care in Colombia

During D4I’s workshop, participants discussed indicators to measure and evaluate Colombia’s progress in child protection and case management. © 2023 Data for Impact

July 26, 2023

By Allison Connolly, Andrea Navarrete, and Katie Kosma

A primary objective for D4I’s work in Colombia is to support the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF) to develop indicators for the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the Case Management Method (abbreviated in Spanish as MAC). Implemented in 2022, MAC is critical for child protection at ICBF to improve the standardization and quality of case management.

D4I was tasked with designing a logic model to provide a systematic framework to understand program interventions, identify desired outcomes, and guide the selection of indicators for effective M&E. The selected indicators will provide markers for monitoring the extent to which the new case management method is implemented, as well as the medium- and long-term performance achieved under MAC.

D4I has conducted five in-country workshops with representatives from contracted service providers and ICBF staff at the local, regional, and national levels to develop the indicators. Many of the participants interact directly with children and families, including those who worked for contracted service providers and on ICBF’s local-based Advocacy Teams. The discussion that took place during the workshops evolved as the participants’ understanding of M&E and indicators grew. Drawing together a group so varied in job function yet united by a common goal cultivated lively debates and impactful discussions.

Including staff who work directly with children and families to determine how performance will be measured through indicators is a newer practice for ICBF and one that shows promise. Their involvement makes it possible to create indicators that acknowledge the realities experienced at every stage of the child protection process. Jenny Rios, a coordinator for the Pro-Children’s Defense Organization, says she and her colleagues can add a holistic viewpoint and a “clear vision that is fundamental to help orient the [Advocacy] team and provide a real response to the beneficiaries’ needs.”

ICBF staff members who work at the national level, like Jesús Garzón, also recognize the importance of having front-line workers participate in the workshops “because it provides high-quality information to the Advocacy Teams to make informed decisions regarding the implementation of suitable child protection and care services.” Adriana Tierradentro, Interim Deputy Director of the Subdirectorate for Reestablishment of Rights at ICBF, addressed the participants and left them with a clear message: “Our responsibility is to the children. Everything we do, we do in their best interest.”

The final workshop took place in July 2023. The purpose of the workshop was to prioritize indicators to start measuring MAC’s key short and medium-term results, as well as its outcomes. These 19 indicators will help ICBF and its partners understand how MAC is working and provide evidence they can use for better advocacy and decision making in support of children and families nationwide.



Allison Connolly, MA, MPH has 25 years of experience in public health and information systems and has worked at Palladium since 2015. Allison has overseen D4I’s work in Colombia since it started in 2020 and has recently joined D4I’s project in Rwanda. She has significant experience in capacity building, infectious disease surveillance, and developing information systems that meet their needs.

Andrea Navarrete, Project Manager of D4I in Colombia, has over 9 years of experience leading digital solutions, strategic planning, and monitoring and evaluation projects within NGOs, public, and private organizations. Her background in knowledge management, innovation, and systemic thinking has enabled her to drive the design and re-design of information systems, implementing effective strategies and policies that strengthened organizational management. Additionally, Andrea holds a position as a System Dynamics professor at Universidad de los Andes.