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We understand. When an issue emerges involving children and youth, policy leaders often respond by creating a task force or collaboration to address it. The intention is good and the action is logical, because children and youth issues cannot usually be addressed by just one institution or government agency.
But let’s admit it: In some places, the explosion of task forces, partnerships and councils has gone too far. Many states and communities now sport a multitude of collaboratives working on overlapping youth issues, from bullying to pregnancy to dropouts. It’s no wonder that at the Forum for Youth Investment, we often hear this lament from state and local policy makers:
“I used to have to attend meetings with 17 different departments; now I have to participate in 17 different coalitions.”
Having too many uncoordinated collaborations isn’t just burdensome to the stakeholders who go to all those meetings; it’s inefficient and ineffective. We routinely find multiple collaboratives duplicating each other’s efforts and not sharing each other’s work. Sometimes, they even work on the same issues in isolation from each other.
The Forum has identified seven ways to help reduce the inefficiency and burden of having disconnected collaboratives, read about them in this paper.