The pre-planning phase focuses on developing an agreement among the principal agencies and stakeholder groups to formally oversee the emerging system of care and resolve policy, program, and funding issues that are likely to arise. Also, the emerging governance body will set the priorities and goals for the system of care receiving input from individual and system outcome measures and stakeholder feedback. Many systems of care call this the administrative team. During this phase, you also can determine the various subcommittees that will support the governance body and find suitable stakeholders to join the committees. Pre-planning can last up to 6 months.
Activities, Questions to Consider
If no governance body exists:
- Identifying processes that need to be followed to receive administrative or policy approval for the body.
- Do State or county administrators, tribal leaders, or commissioners need to approve and authorize the work?
- Developing materials to present to officials authorized to approve creation of the governance body.
- Identifying members. The governance body should be composed of decision-makers and policy-makers from the public and private service delivery sectors, as well as family members, youth, and service providers.
- Has a governance structure that features interagency and family involvement been established?
- Contacting member agencies and individuals to determine commitment and availability to participate.
- Does the governance body have the authority and responsibility to make essential decisions for building, implementing, operating, and sustaining the system of care?
- Determining the process for authorizing agency staff to represent their agency on the governance body.
- Identifying interagency resources available to support development of the governance body.
- Providing orientation and training to members.
- Developing a memorandum of understanding/memorandum of agreement to formalize interagency relationships, roles, and responsibilities.
- Developing bylaws.
- Providing members with the memorandum of understanding/memorandum of agreement to present to their agencies for approval and authorization of their involvement.
- Seeking signatures for the memorandum of understanding/memorandum of agreement from individuals who can authorize and approve the work of the governance body.
- Sending copies of the signed memorandum of understanding/memorandum of agreement to all agencies, individual members, and interested parties.
If a governance body already exists:
- Determining whether the existing body addresses issues of similar focus and scope.
- Does the governance body address barriers (policies, program gaps, and funding) for implementing individual service plans?
- Determining whether the existing governance body, with expanded capacity, can incorporate systems of care into its vision, mission, and operations.
- Is the membership of the governance body representative of the system of care stakeholders?
- Determining the requirements to build on the work already conducted by the governance body.
- System of care management team (director, administrative assistant, evaluation staff)
- Key family contact
- Interagency advisory committee (possibly already established for your strategic planning effort)
A well-established governance body increases the likelihood of sustaining your system of care. Governance is a central part of a system of care infrastructure. The people and agencies involved will help chart the course of your system of care. They will help create policy to enhance sustainability. Once you have created the governance body, and launched operations through a memorandum of understanding and bylaws, it can become a long-lasting and vital part of your system of care, regardless of changes of the individuals involved.
Involving families from the start who have experience with the child welfare system is also critical. Families formally participating as equals in your governance bodies can be your most effective advocates.
California – Planning and Policy Council (PDF - 67 KB)
A four-page document that outlines the vision, purpose, principles, membership, and committees of the Contra Costa County Planning and Policy Council.
Colorado – 1451 Collaborative Management Program Legislation
Six pages of the legislation that created the statewide governance structure for Colorado's system of care. Addresses county-specific memorandum of understanding that covers an interagency oversight group, individualized care teams and plans, development of performance-based measures, performance-based incentive funds distribution, and annual reporting to county executive directors and the State.
North Carolina – Collaborative Structure Document (PDF - 32 KB)
This six-page document outlines the State and local governance structures needed to best work on behalf of children and families. A set of axioms guides the work of various levels of collaborative governance and a graph depicts the governance structures from the individual child and family teams to the State collaborative.
Kansas – The Kansas Family Advisory Network, Inc.
A non-adversarial nonprofit network of family partners, organizations, groups, and agencies that collaborate to promote safety, permanency, and well-being for children and their families involved with, or at risk of becoming involved with, the child welfare system through education for children, families, policy-makers, and society at large. The Kansas Family Advisory Network connects the Kansas system of care governance with family members who serve on various boards and committees.