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Keep the Connections

Building on successful strategies to improve child and youth outcomes

Since 1998, the Forum for Youth Investment has worked with state policy makers to coordinate and align their state’s efforts to improve outcomes for children and youth. In 2010, among the twenty state policy coordinating bodies that belong to the Forum’s Children’s Cabinet Network, thirteen were facing a definite or potential gubernatorial transition. In response, the Forum created a Ready by 21 mini-challenge called Keep the Connections. The Keep the Connections project was designed to guarantee that the work of these crucial big-picture coordinating bodies is not only maintained, but strengthened under their next administration.

Keep the Connections provided comprehensive technical assistance to the following six selected coordinating bodies: Florida Children and Youth Cabinet, Georgia Children’s Cabinet, Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development, Maine Children’s Cabinet, Ohio Children and Family First Cabinet Council, and Tennessee Governor’s Office of Children’s Care Coordination.

Each of the six participating states worked with a highly-qualified consultant who oversaw successful transitions at the state level as well as the policy experts at the Forum. Additionally, each participating coordinating body has access to the Ready by 21 National Partners and a small fund to cover nominal expenses relating to the project.

The Keep the Connections team at the Forum created a custom set of information gathering materials for each state, including:

  • A self-assessment completed by the coordinating body staff
  • Surveys from current coordinating body members and other internal stakeholders
  • Interviews with key external stakeholders, including those identified by Ready by 21 National Partners

The information gathered by the Keep the Connections team was used to create the following items:

  • Summative Analysis of the Coordinating Body
  • Kickoff Stakeholder Convening
  • External Strategy for Political Survival
  • Internal Transition Report to Relay Ongoing Projects and Outstanding Priorities to the Next Administration