The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections-Milwaukee site visited Louisville, Kentucky to learn about Neighborhood Place, a neighborhood-based program that offered many services focused on serving vulnerable families. The visit was designed to help Milwaukee with its vision of integrating child welfare, economic support and behavioral health services as part of its Making Connections effort. The document is organized around the lessons learned including a shared vision, partnerships, resident involvement and evolution of the governing structure.
Child Welfare Services Served as the Cornerstone for the Development of the Neighborhood Centers
Findings & Stats
Neighborhood Center Evolvement
As agencies learned to trust each other, the leadership structure came into being and the collaborative established formal policies and procedures.
Legal staff from partner agencies established a confidentiality policy to meet all requirements across the multiple human service agencies.
Case managers assume the role of facilitator during family meetings which involve family supports and service providers.
Involving residents and community leaders helps make child welfare and other social services more user-friendly – treating families as “customers” rather than as clients.
Integrated, community-based services increase the odds that families living in poverty will connect to reliable, trustable supports and services
Statements & Quotations
The mandate to work together is not codified legislatively, although the partner agencies have developed policies and procedures to support their shared operations. But after more than a decade of operation, Neighborhood Place sites could not simply dissolve; the mandate now comes from a large body of staff and community advocates who expect that a partnership is the best way to do business….
As the Neighborhood Places were created, each participating services agency put a person to work on the project. This leader was not “the top dog” but a person who could devote significant attention to the work and have the authority to make decisions and speak on behalf of their agency. As these leaders came together, their weekly meetings became a necessity—their camaraderie, agendas and problem-solving could not have been completed in quarterly or even monthly gatherings.
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