How Will It Happen: Theory of Change

A theory of change is a set of ideas and actions that provide the foundation for how a certain thing – such as reducing child abuse and neglect in Lane County – will happen. It is the underpinning for the core beliefs, the key steps, the timeline, and the plan for tracking progress. It provides the framework for achieving a goal.


A complete theory of change for achieving 90by30 does not yet exist – a theory of change of this kind, actually, doesn’t exist in any community. 90by30 and our partners are in the "concept" phase. Through our Regional Leadership Teams, we are working with hundreds of Lane County residents to design a plan that is developed by a representative group of Lane County residents, that has wide and enthusiastic community support, and that leads to extensive county-wide involvement.


At the same time, we are not starting from scratch. We have a great deal of local wisdom and experience, the benefit of extensive research knowledge, and a working draft of core assumptions. These are the building blocks of our theory of change. Please review our beliefs and assumptions listed below and let us know what you think.

Our Current Theory of Change Assumptions


Involve the Public

A locally developed theory of change designed by a diverse group of Lane County residents is the best chance for reaching the 90by30 goal. We believe that the general public should be central in both developing and in carrying out the plan – with support from agencies and government. Toward this, we are borrowing ideas and strategies from the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Communities that Care. How we work together is at least as important as who is involved. With this in mind, we are drawing from participatory action attitudes and strategies like those at Pepperdine and Cornell, and from collaborative approaches that encourage community-campus partnerships.


Use Research

Being very familiar with research evidence and tracking our progress locally are key parts of building and refining our map toward change. We are studying and borrowing knowledge from research groups such as Frontiers of Innovation with Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child and Community Partnerships for the Protection of Children.


We are also working with key partners to bring promising practices to our community, such as the Finnish Baby Box, Roots of Empathy, and Safe Families for Children.


Conduct Research

We also are developing a plan to actively measure our progress and other indicators of change. Toward this, we are borrowing from participatory action methods and the Collective Impact model. The University of Oregon’s Center for Prevention of Abuse and Neglect, where 90by30 is housed, is serving as the research hub for the 90by30 initiative.


Coordinate a "Systems-Level" Plan

90by30 is working to develop a "systems-level" plan for child abuse reduction in Lane County. Today, many excellent individual programs work with individuals and families, and have made important strides in coordination of those efforts. 90by30 is working to build on those efforts, to develop a plan that more fully involves the general public, and to develop a plan that more completely aligns all local efforts.


This leaves the real prevention of child abuse and neglect in the hands of us all, as a community. The Collective Impact model provides a way to develop that intentional, well-coordinated, and mutually-reinforcing plan. “Mutually-reinforcing” means that each individual and group that has pledged to be part of preventing child abuse and neglect in Lane County supports not only our individual efforts but everyone else’s as well.


Collective Impact includes five steps toward developing a well-coordinated plan. For 90by30, we added a sixth component: wide community involvement.


Embrace a Public Health Approach

90by30 has adopted a prevention and public health framework that includes research knowledge about risk and protective factors. These elements of our theory of change are helping us to create a plan that gives us the best chance of success in the most efficient manner. In addition to emphasizing a protective factors approach, we will over time borrow from the fields of social marketing, parenting education, and applied arts, among others.