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If schools in your community practice zero tolerance policies, you might want to see why a youth suicide compelled the Forum’s Karen Pittman and Patrick Boyle to blog about the potential harm of such policies. Their message: Forcing a kid to leave a school means a lot more than changing the location of the math class.
How can a community change the quality, coordination and reach of its services, supports and engagement opportunities for children and youth? The Forum’s latest Ready by 21® case study shows how leaders in Petaluma, Calif., did just that, working with the Forum to use the Ready by 21 approach to build a communitywide coalition and develop new strategies that had impact.
Changing the way you do business means changing who is involved in identifying community issues, as well as who is active in taking action toward solutions. Leaders need to engage youth, families and community leaders as organizers, planners and advocates by ensuring ongoing opportunities for leadership and participation. It's important to have strategies that reach all, not just a few.
Using Better Data and Information: Bringing the Best Information about What Works Into the Decision-making Process Webinar
In order to 'change the way they do business,' leaders need access to the best information on 'what works.' This involves regularly requesting and using reviews of national research on what works, as well as conducting and using local studies and surveys. We will explore ways to bring this information into your decision-making process.
At the end of the day, broader partnerships, bigger goals, and better data and decision making are only useful if they significantly increase the likelihood that timely, well-vetted, evidence-based strategies will be implemented and nurtured toward success. Many communities are dealing with an overabundance of strategies, and struggle to implement strategies in an aligned and effective way.
There are very few examples of ongoing, cross-system efforts to identify data needs, fill data gaps and use data to influence real-time decision-making. Information and data are needed at every level - within indvidual programs; within organizations; within networks, coalitions or systems; within leadership groups (focused on orchestration, not service delivery); and within communities.