Effective collaboration is a vehicle that relies on mutual benefit, concerted action, and shared risks and accountability to produce meaningful results and rewards. Systems ranging from education to child welfare, workforce and juvenile justice touch the lives of youth. In communities of high youth distress, many youth have multiple contacts with one or more of the systems. Therefore, it is imperative for community and agency leadership, administrators and front-line staff to broker relationships - both programmatic and systemic in nature - to support young people in meeting their individual goals as well as the community in advancing youth outcomes.
In the context of improving services for youth, the use of collaboration as a vehicle to move across systems is essential. Beyond partnership, collaboration must address turf, share resources, and acquire trust. Success is rooted in a communities' ability to navigate these terms and develop relationships that recognize the well-being of young people as the focal point of coming together.
Key benefits to cross-systems collaboration aimed at advancing outcomes for struggling and disconnected students include:
- Improved Access and Services - effective systems collaboration allows communities to appropriately fill gaps in service and provide more comprehensive programming and interventions to address varying youth issues.
- Leveraging Public and Private Resources - cross-system collaboration result in more effective uses of public resources and increase a community's ability to attract and leverage private funding.
- Cultivating the field - cross-system initiatives support the development of policies and practices that improves service delivery quality, allow for sharing valuable information on best practices and promising strategies.