Vision - Destination - What do we want to achieve that we can agree on? Our opinion as to how to get there might differ.

The map - Plotting a course of travel

Assets - Resources - What do we have available and are we using it wisely?

    Funding CDBG

    Human Resources, experience

Effective & Efficient

What works? - Programs that work instead of re-inventing the wheel

Organization - 

    Coordination - making sure the pieces work together well

    Communication - internal and external, are we transparent as to our motives as we move toward our goal.

Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University 

Bridge Communities is a dynamic, holistic, grassroots non-profit organization committed to transforming the lives of homeless families through meaningful partnerships with community-based agencies and individuals. The program of housing, mentoring, employment and education counseling focuses families towards a goal of permanent housing and self-sufficiency.

The problems Bridge Communities addresses are homelessness, underemployment, unemployment, skill deficiencies, lack of education, parenting issues and debt management. The objectives of the Bridge program are:

• Secure an improved employment status therefore increase earned income

• Reduce debt and improve credit rating

• Teach client’s how to better utilize resources through life-skills mentoring

• Improve the client’s and their children’s educational opportunities

• Secure permanent housing upon completion of the Program

The goal of the two-year Program is to increase life skills and earning power to enable families to achieve self sufficiency, sustain permanent housing, and to break the cycle of poverty within the family unit.

Bridge Communities has helped 625 families achieve self-sufficiency and permanent housing. Comprehensive surveys show that 90 - 95% of families develop the knowledge and skills necessary to maintain permanent, stable housing and employment, stabilize or decreased their debt and improve their education level.





Conservatives Think They Have a Magic Formula for Raising People Out of Poverty 

I haven't yet read Ta-Nahesi Coates' new book, Between the World and Me. But I did find myself groaning while reading Rich Lowry's review of it at Politico. This was not due to anything Lowry wrote specifically about Coates' work—which, again, I haven't opened—but because he trots out a bit of received conservative wisdom about fighting poverty in a very irksome way. It's a canard I fear we'll hear a lot during the presidential election.

Lowry, who edits National Review, says he dislikes Between the World and Me because it is too nihilistic and doesn't offer a "positive program" to improve the lot of black America. However, he also dislikes Coates' suggestion, put forward in a widely read Atlantic essay, that the government start by considering paying black families reparations. Why? Social science, of course. 


... like all Americans, [blacks] are in a much better position to succeed if they honor certain basic norms: graduate from high school; get a full-time job; don’t have a child before age 21 and get married before childbearing. Among the people who do these things, according to the research of Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution, about 75 percent attain the middle class, broadly defined.

In policy circles, this idea is often referred to as the "success sequence." Conservatives —including presidential contender Marco Rubio and sorta-kinda-contender Rick Santorum—are quite fond of it, because in their eyes it shows that personal responsibility is essential to conquering need. Certainly, Lowry seems to think so. Would reparations "be transformative for any individual?" he asks in his review. "No. For poor blacks to escape poverty, it would still require all the personal attributes that contribute to success. So Coates is selling snake oil. Even if he got his fantastical reparations that he has poured such literary energy into advocating, real improvement in the condition of black people would still require the moral effort that he won’t advocate for."

This is, in fact, a statement about much more than reparations, or Coates. Implicitly, it's an argument that unless the poor embrace middle-class "norms"—that all-important three-part code that unlocks membership to the middle class—money is useless.

Which is just sort of silly.

In the end, the "success sequence" is a mildly catchy way of stating the obvious. It is not a magic formula—though people who follow it rarely end up poor, by Sawhill and Haskins' own admission, a good number of people take all of the right steps and still don't make it to the solid middle class. But yes, you are more likely to get there if you both graduate from high school and promptly find full-time work. That's sort of like saying it's easier to go bear hunting with a gun than it is to wrestle a grizzly into submission—nobody would think otherwise. You are also more likely to be middle class if you get married before having children, in part because wedded couples have been found to be more stable, and two incomes are typically better than one, especially when there is a baby to raise.

I somehow doubt that there are many people who need to be told that graduating high school, finding a job, and settling down before starting a family are ideal things to do. Achieving all of these personal milestones is easier, however, if your family happens to have money, or can at least afford to put food on the table. Wealthier children do better in school. Moving poor kids to nicer neighborhoods while they're young improves their future earnings. The more money men make as adults, the more likely they are to get married. "Moral effort," whatever that means, might be useful when it comes to making your way through the world. But cash definitely is.

It is also entirely possible to end up in the middle class while violating the success sequence, which is not, in fact, some sort inviolable law of nature. As Sawhill and Haskins show, a quarter of Americans who miss one or two items on their to-do list end up earning above 300 percent of the poverty line. Many of those individuals were probably born middle class or wealthy. But that only goes to show how, with a little help, people can find a decent lot for themselves, even if their lives don't conform to Rich Lowry's strict standards.


And that's why, as I said, I'm not looking forward to conservative politicians picking up the "success sequence" as a theme. If you treat it as a list of things that we should probably help people do, it's fine. But, again, it's not magic. And it shouldn't be treated as an excuse to cut off people from help if they don't live their lives by a very specific set of rules. This country really doesn't need yet another flimsy excuse to let people fend for themselves.

Jordan Weissmann is Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.



Creating an Opportunity Society: 1027_opportunity_society_presentation.pdf 



Executive Summary

The standard portrayals of economic life for ordinary Americans

and their families paint a picture of stagnancy, even decline, amidst rising income inequality or joblessness. But rarely does the public conversation about the changing economic fortunes of Americans and their families look at questions of family structure. This is an important oversight because, as this report shows, changes in family formation and stability are central to the changing economic landscape of American families, to the declining economic status of men, and to worries about the health of the American dream.


This study documents five key findings about the relationships between family patterns and

economic well-being in America.


1– The retreat from marriage—a retreat that has been concentrated among lower-income

Americans—plays a key role in the changing economic fortunes of American family life. We

estimate that the growth in median income of families with children would be 44 percent

higher if the United States enjoyed 1980 levels of married parenthood today. Further, at least

32 percent of the growth in family-income inequality since 1979 among families with children

and 37 percent of the decline in men’s employment rates during that time can be linked to the

decreasing number of Americans who form and maintain stable, married families.


2– Growing up with both parents (in an intact family) is strongly associated with more

education, work, and income among today’s young men and women. Young men and women

from intact families enjoy an annual “intact-family premium” that amounts to $6,500 and

$4,700, respectively, over the incomes of their peers from single-parent families.


3– Men obtain a substantial “marriage premium” and women bear no marriage penalty

in their individual incomes, and both men and women enjoy substantially higher family

incomes, compared to peers with otherwise similar characteristics. For instance, men

enjoy a marriage premium of at least $15,900 per year in their individual income

compared to their single peers.


4– These two trends reinforce each other. Growing up with both parents increases your

odds of becoming highly educated, which in turn leads to higher odds of being married as

an adult. Both the added education and marriage result in higher income levels. Indeed,

men and women who were raised with both parents present and then go on to marry

enjoy an especially high income as adults. Men and women who are currently married

and were raised in an intact family enjoy an annual “family premium” in their household

income that exceeds that of their unmarried peers who were raised in nonintact families

by at least $42,000.


Growing up with both parents (in an intact family) is strongly associated with more education, work, and income among today’s young men and women.


5– The advantages of growing up in an intact family and being married extend across

the population. They apply about as much to blacks and Hispanics as they do to whites.

For instance, black men enjoy a marriage premium of at least $12,500 in their individual

income compared to their single peers. The advantages also apply, for the most part, to

men and women who are less educated. For instance, men with a high-school degree or

less enjoy a marriage premium of at least $17,000 compared to their single peers.

Given the economic importance of strong and stable families, policy makers, business

executives and owners, and civic leaders should experiment with a range of public and private

policies to strengthen and stabilize marriage and family life in the United States. Such efforts

should focus on poor and working-class Americans, who have been most affected by the

nation’s retreat from marriage. Specifically:


1– Public policy should “do no harm” when it comes to marriage. Accordingly,

policymakers should eliminate or reduce marriage penalties embedded in many of

the nation’s tax and transfer policies designed to serve lower-income Americans and

their families.


2– Federal and state policy should strengthen the economic foundations of middle- and

lower-income family life in three ways: (a) increase the child credit to $3,000 and extend

it to both income and payroll taxes; (b) expand the maximum earned income tax credit

for single, childless adults to $1,000, increasing their marriageability; and (c) expand

and improve vocational education and apprenticeship programs that would strengthen

the job prospects of less-educated young adults.


3– Civic institutions—joined by a range of private and public partners, from

businesses to state governments to public schools—should launch a national

campaign around a “success sequence” that would encourage young adults to

sequence schooling, work, marriage, and then parenthood. This campaign would

stress the ways children are more likely to flourish when they are born to married

parents with a secure economic foundation.

This report is part of the Home Economics Project, a research effort of the American Enterprise

Institute and the Institute for Family Studies that explores whether and how strong and stable

families advance the economic welfare of children, adults, and the nation as a whole. The project

also examines the role, if any, that marriage and family play in increasing individual opportunity

and strengthening free enterprise at home and abroad, as well as their implications for public policy. 

Space, place, race: Six policies to improve social mobility

Place matters: that’s the main message of Professor Raj Chetty’s latest research. This supports the findings of a rich body of evidence from social scientists, but Chetty is able to use a large dataset to provide an even stronger empirical foundation. Specifically, he finds that children who move from one place to another have very different outcomes, depending on whether they move to a low-opportunity city or a high-opportunity one.

The local factors bearing on upward mobility chances include segregation, housing, transportation, family formation, schools, jobs, and institutional racism, to name but a few. So what can be done? At our recent event featuring Professor Chetty and an expert panel, a number of concrete policy solutions were put on the table (click on the link to jump to that part of our discussion): 

  1. Target housing vouchers more effectively.  Currently, families with small children are often put on a waiting list for housing vouchers. Chetty suggested that vouchers should target families with younger children, who would get the most benefit from moving, since each year of ‘childhood exposure’ counts. In addition, Chetty pointed out that the Moving to Opportunity project was most effective when it required families to move to low-poverty areas; this aspect of the program should be replicated.
  2. Build public housing in low-poverty areas, instead of high-poverty ones. In fact, as Chetty argued, mixed-income neighborhoods are not only beneficial to low-income families, but can produce better outcomes for the rich.
  3. Reform exclusionary zoning laws. The current housing market is much more exclusionary than buyers realize. According to our Brookings colleague Jonathan Rothwell, a free market would be better than the current situation (although not ideal).
  4. Better enforcement of fair housing rules by HUD. Margery Turner of the Urban Institute pointed to a new HUD proposed ruleAffirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, which would require states and localities receiving HUD funding to more effectively enforce fair housing laws.
  5. Invest in infrastructure. The Washington Post’s Emily Badger argued for policies that would increase transportation options and invest in infrastructure for the integration of neighborhoods. Moving low-income families to better neighborhoods can improve their life chances, but only if they have easy, affordable access to jobs.
  6. Promote school choice. Children should not be forced to attend failing schools if their families do not have the opportunity to move to a better area, argued Rothwell. He proposed increasing opportunities for school choice—providing vouchers, building charter schools, or bussing students to schools to which they would not otherwise have access.

No single policy can do it all

Diane Bell-McKoy highlighted the scale of the challenge: what breaks people is ‘broken systems’ in high-poverty areas like much of Baltimore. Clearly it will take much more than a handful of policies to turn the tide in such places. And many will only succeed if we make progress in reducing institutional and structural racism. We can hope, along with Professor Chetty, that simply learning about the reality of opportunity gaps in so many U.S. cities will mean more cities adopt such policies, and take up the challenge of promoting opportunity across America.

  • Richard V. Reeves is a senior fellow in Economic Studies, co-director of the Center on Children and Families, and editor-in-chief of the Social Mobility Memos blog. His research focuses on social mobility, inequality, and family change. Prior to joining Brookings, he was director of strategy to the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister.


Following the success sequence? Success is more likely if you're white. 


High school students from the City on a Hill Charter Public School play the role of U.S. senators as they work to pass an immigration reform bill during a mock legislative session of the U.S. Senate chamber at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, Massachusetts June 10, 2015.

Why are black Americans at greater risk of being poor? This is a complex and contested question, one that has exercised scholars and politicians for decades. One of the most sensitive issues is the relative importance of individual effort and responsibility, compared to the impact of historic and ongoing racial discrimination. (One of the best contributions to this field in recent years is Patrick Sharkey’s Stuck in Place, suggesting that structural factors play the greater role.)

In a review of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review, fires another volley in this long-running battle. He suggests that Coates puts too much weight on systemic racism in explaining the struggles of black Americans. What’s needed, Lowry argues, is more focus on individual responsibility, and to stop denying “the moral agency of blacks, who are often depicted as the products of forces beyond their control.”

Lowry suggests that black Americans would be better served if Coates made his readers aware of a “little secret” set out in previous research by our colleagues, Isabel Sawhill and Ron Haskins, which assesses the likelihood of economic success conditional on achieving three middle class “norms,” which they call the “success sequence.” Lowry correctly reports that about three-quarters of Americans reach the middle class provided that they:

  1. Graduate from high school;
  2. Maintain a full-time job or have a partner who does; and
  3. Have children while married and after age 21, should they choose to become parents.

Unlike Lowry, we are able to further breakdown the number of people who reach the middle class or follow the norms by race using the dataset from in the original paper by Sawhill and Haskins, updated for 2013. The bottom line is that even when black Americans do follow all three norms, their economic prospects are worse than whites.

Three norms: the black-white divide

White Americans are significantly more likely to demonstrate all three norms than black Americans: about 65 percent compared to 45 percent. Rates of high school completion are similar, but whites are significantly more likely to have a full-time job and to delay childbearing than blacks:

There are big questions here about the large race gaps in labor market activity and family formation, which are being addressed by scholars and policy-makers. A range of inter-related factors are at play here, involving the education system, the political system, and the workings of the job market. To take just a couple of examples, black children attend worse schools, in part because local tax and property laws prevent their parents from moving to neighborhoods with better schools. There are also stark gaps in the perceived treatment of blacks and whites in the criminal justice system, with significant knock-on effects for employment and family life.


Success sequence equals more success for whites than blacks


What happens to those who do follow the norms? If Lowry is right, and black Americans simply need to take responsibility and follow middle class norms, it should be the case that blacks and whites who follow all the norms reach the middle class at similar rates. The data suggest otherwise.

Among those who follow all three norms, blacks are significantly less likely to reach the middle class than whites who do the same. About 73 percent of whites who follow all three norms find themselves with income above 300 percent of the federal poverty line for their family size, while only 59 percent of blacks who adhere to all three norms fare equally well:

Of course, there may also be differences by race above the 300% federal poverty line, so we delve a little deeper here. We find that blacks and whites who follow the three norms have about the same likelihood of ending up near the middle, with incomes three to five times the federal poverty line (about $60,000 to $100,000 for a family of three). But white norm-followers have better odds than their black equivalents of ending up in a more affluent household—whites are 10 percentage points more likely, for example, to have an income at least seven times the poverty line:

Which norms matter most?

A related question is whether some of the norms matter more than others, in terms of understanding these inequalities by race. It is hard to empirically isolate the impact of each of the norms. But we can look at the cost of missing any particular one. If income is mostly equal between groups of blacks and whites who uphold two of the norms but break a third, it is suggestive that the norm in question is less central to the inequality between groups. We find that whites who break only one rule enjoy success at higher rates, on average, and that breaking norms related to work and childbearing are associated with greater inequality than not getting a high school diploma:

What about Baltimore?

The data presented so far are national; but of course there could be significant variation between different areas, especially cities. In Baltimore, blacks who follow the norms are much less likely to get ahead than whites. That pattern holds up across very different cities, like Denver, New York, and Minneapolis:

In fact, the differences hold up across many different cities. In almost every city we examined, the proportion of blacks who follow all the norms that reach the middle class is well below the proportion of white norm-adherents who do so, often by 10 percentage points or more.

Promoting success for all

The debate over individual responsibility and substantive opportunity is too simplistic. Nobody can sensibly deny the need for both. But for policymakers committed to improving opportunity and mobility, the urgent question is: “What are we going to do?” Most Americans of all races aspire to the norms captured in the success sequence. But the hurdles are clearly higher for some groups—especially black Americans—than others. And the pay-offs from following the success sequence clearly differ by race. There are solutions to some of these deep-rooted, systemic problems. Implementing tried-and-tested policies does not require us to wait for an answer to the questions Lowry poses.

New norms

A final point: the norms identified by our colleagues were based on an analysis of what mattered in the past for middle class status in the present. It is almost certain that these will change over time. So what might new norms look like? First, a high school education is probably no longer sufficient; some postsecondary education is increasingly important for attaining a middle-class income. Not everyone needs to go to college, but fewer and fewer middle class jobs will be in the reach of those without some postsecondary education.

Second, there is a growing marriage gap in America than may alter the role of marriage. Some commentators bemoan this turn of events, but in light of its decline, maybe a better norm is that any children are intentional: as Sawhill puts it, by design rather than by default. Whether married or not, it is clear that children who are intended fare better.

Last, for most people a full-time job remains an important precondition for middle class status. But as collective recent experience demonstrates, economic currents don’t always cooperate. Millions of people can find themselves out of work involuntarily, rather than as a personal choice (though for some it will be). For that reason, we need robust work support and training programs, to ensure that those who are forced out of work by a weak labor market will be able to sustain themselves and their families and to avoid skill atrophy while they are unemployed.

Even if the success sequence norms need occasional recalibration to fit changing times, racial disparities are likely to remain, and will not dissolve simply as a result of greater individual responsibility. There are other, deeper, factors at work.

Black Americans who meet traditional markers on the pathway to the American Dream are still less likely to get there than white Americans. Until we break the structural barriers that keep black Americans from reaping the benefits of their individual responsibility, arguments about why some don’t follow norms risk being beside the point.




Taken from Step One: Gospel to the Ghetto                

It is essential to keep things simple. The average church member doesn’t have time to attend additional meetings or become a part of a new committee. Efforts should be made through the existing organizations of the church – women’s groups, Sunday school classes, youth groups. Helping the poor should be on the agenda of most church organizations anyway.

                Although excessive committees are to be avoided, careful structure is needed. Organization of the congregation can be accomplished by establishing task forces with clear objectives. An active chairman can supervise their functions. Task forces don’t need to meet often. Most of their duties can be performed informally – phone conversations, written directives, brief meetings before or after other meetings.

A Chairman

                The chairman’s task in each church is to coordinate five task forces. The suggested task forces are as follows:

  1. Friendship Task Forces

  2. Research Task Force (Church Think Tank)

  3. Skills Task Force

  4. Ministry Task Force

  5. Process Task Force

A Joint Effort - Additional Support Churches


Friendship Task Forces

                These task forces have the responsibility first, for relating to the institutional leaders of the community and second, to all public servants who want their assistance. Essentially, they are influence committees composed of people of the congregation who have been successful in their professional endeavors and are willing to share themselves and their abilities.

                This task force should:

1)      Establish relationships with institutional leaders in the community such as the high school principal, the police precinct captain, the head of a welfare office, and the urban pastor. The task force should meet with them on a monthly basis to lend support and to listen to their needs and problems. Other friendship members would meet with individual public servants-teachers, welfare workers, etc.

2)      Communicate these needs and problems to the research task force (Think Tanks).

3)      Act as a constant communication link throughout the problem solving and resource procurement process.




Research Task Force (Church Think Tank)

          This task force represents the creative cutting edge of the congregation in such areas as education, health, management, law enforcement, recreation, etc. It attempts to solve the problems and needs expressed by the institutional leaders through the activities of the friendship committees.

          The Research task force should:

1.       Develop work plans in various content areas of the think tank such as education, jobs, etc., that can be implemented by the skills task forces of the congregations.

2.       Respond to the requests of the institutional leaders conveyed through the friendship task force.

3.       Tap the creative resources of the congregation to explore new solutions to urban problems. For example:

                                                           ·          A new data processing procedure could be developed to take school attendance.

                                                           ·          A new supplemental curriculum for second grade math could be devised.

                                                           ·          The food menu of an urban high school cafeteria could be upgraded.



Skills Task Force

            This task force represents the divers work skills of the congregation (what they do all week long). Skills members are laypersons with the practical proficiency to implement the work plans produced by the think tank. They may be involved in rebuilding houses, locating and creating jobs, tutoring youths, promoting public relations, running day care centers, accounting, and performing preventive medical assistance.

            The skills task force should:

1)      Inventory the work skills of the congregation.

2)      Implement the work plans of the research task force or church think tanks. For example:

                                               ·          An accountant could help upgrade the financial records of several community businesses.

                                               ·          An electrician could help with some new wiring.

                                               ·          A lawyer could defend a youth in court.



Ministry Task Force

        These individuals are responsible for ministering to the spiritual needs of the poor, working

wherever possible through families.


        The Ministry task force should:

1)      Develop ministry teams to befriend families and to assist them in implementing prescriptions of personal inventory teams. Ministry teams would consist of two couples for each targeted family.

2)      Develop personal inventory teams of an educator, jobs person, financial specialist, social worker, and spiritual person to ascertain the comprehensive needs of a family or individual and write prescriptions based upon work plans and think tank.



Process Task Force

           This task force has two major responsibilities:

1)      Quality control and evaluation of the program.

2)      Advertising and promoting the program.

Some examples

                                                           ·          Taking members of the congregation on tours of the ghetto

                                                           ·          Producing newsletters to the congregation, bulletin inserts, etc.

                                                           ·          Performing an evaluation of a tutoring project.

                                                           ·          Making recommendations for improving the quality of the training of the volunteers.



A Joint Effort

              No church will have sufficient resources to change an urban neighborhood single-handedly. Nor will any one church have the diversity of gifts to implement such a comprehensive project. Groups of congregations must work together. This is not a legal agreement. It is simply four to seven churches agreeing to cooperate to help the poor in a geographical neighborhood. If someone wants to drop out or be added – so be it.


Additional Support Churches

              Once four to seven churches are highly organized with task forces, other churches can join the effort in supportive ways. These additional churches could help by expanding the friendship teams, think tanks, work plans, spiritual ministries and process task forces that have been created.

              The purpose of this organizing effort is to give every participant a specific task to do. Unless such a management strategy is followed, specific skills of the layperson will never be applied to the specific needs of the urban poor. When people live miles apart and public institutions dominate human service delivery systems either you intensively organize assistance or you frustrate volunteer effort. Our urban productivity will directly correspond to our organization.





Improving Children’s Life Chances: Estimates from the Social Genome Model
Kerry Searle Grannis & Isabel Sawhill
There is ample evidence that children born to poorer families do not succeed at the same rate as children born to the middle class. On average, low-income children lag behind on almost every cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and health measure. These gaps start early—some of the newest research suggests that cognitive gaps are detectable in infancy—and persist throughout childhood and into adulthood.1 What’s more, the trend has been worsening over time: despite improvements in closing gender and race gaps over the last half century, the difference between average outcomes by socio-economic status has gotten larger in test scores, college enrollment rates, and family formation patterns.2
Our own research is delving into the reasons for these widening gaps by looking at the life trajectories of more and less advantaged children. At Brookings, we’ve developed a framework for measuring children’s life chances, called the Social Genome Model (SGM).The SGM tracks the academic, social, and economic experiences of individuals from birth through middle age. Using the model, we hope to identify the most important paths to upward mobility. We divide the life cycle into five stages and specify a set of outcomes for each life stage that, according to the literature, are predictive of later outcomes and eventual economic success. These outcomes are not only predictive of later success but were chosen to reflect widely-held norms of success for each life stage (Figure 1).

Preliminary results from the SGM show that success at any individual stage of life greatly enhances the chance of success at the next stage. For example, a child who is ready for school at age five is nearly twice as likely as one who is not to complete middle school with strong academic and social skills.4 Similar arguments from Nobel laureate James Heckman and others suggest that because of the cumulative nature of skill development, intervening earlier in the life cycle rather than later is likely to be the most effective strategy for promoting opportunity among the disadvantaged.5
Using the SGM, we can ask what the world might look like if we could successfully eliminate the income-based gap in early childhood. In this “what-if” experiment, we simulate what would happen if we improved the average chances of school readiness at age five for low-income children so they matched the levels of higher-income children (Figure 3).




docs/two_storm_panel_final_report.pdf How to conduct a Task Force

The 3-D's of good leadership; Decide, Delegate, then Disappear! 

"vision without action is a dream"

Vision without action is just a dream. 
Action without vision just passes the time. 
Vision with action can change the world!


A leader is someone you choose to follow to a place you would not go by yourself.


“What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.”  

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

“We should be rigorous in judging ourselves and gracious in judging others.”

“Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on Earth.”

“Beware you be not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.”

John Wesley



We need to be; holistic, comprehensive and inclusive in our roles and approaches.


All ___________  residents are safe, healthy and productive.

Problems, roadblocks, obstacles in the way preventing the Outcome statement from being true.

We have to serve the immediate and short-term needs, but what are we focusing on prevention and solving the problem.  Devote more personal contact, "one-to-one" (interaction provides the best assessments) 

Immediate needs




Advocacy to change "The System"

Measurement - Results based accountability (RBA)

Break the stereotype that those working within the social services feild don't want to solve the problems because f the job-secutrity it provides


Are we looking at the BIG PICTURE?

Inventory all of the resources in a community, (Community is the area to be determined to affect. Could be neighborhood, municipality, region)

Assist where needed, determine who is best to provide the needed service. (What is best? Scalability needs to be determined.  You wouldn't use a bulldozer to place dirt in a paper cup, you wouldn't use a spoon to dig a foundation for a building)

Are we overlapping? Are we redundant, are we redundant?  Department of Redundancy Department.




Is this really a zero=sum game as many say?

being the safety net when necessary

becoming the trampoline when people are ready

looking at the Big picture by focusing on the smallest details. 


Optimum Scalability - Working at the right level (area of influence) to most effectively and efficiently.

The correct level of organization has to be utilized. many local issues need to be resolved with higher level policy changes.


The size and scope of the issue needs to be clear.

We have municipal jurisdictions, but also, county, regional  (Greater Hartford, East of the River, catchment areas are different for different system.  State Representatives, State Senator, Congressional Districts, etc.


Efforts with individuals, families, neighborhoods, schools, parts of town, towns, counties, state, regional, federal

The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to stand by and do nothing.

No snowflake ever take blame for the avalanche, no water drop ever takes blame for the flood. (we're all partly responsible)

The importance of Home Visits.  More emphasis (resources, efforts, energy) needs to be focused on meeting people where they are. Home visits accomplish much since you get see the family where they live, are comfortable and can be more open.  If resources are then readily available, solutions can be offered more quickly.  Less planning meetings are necessary if more "face-time" is spent with those who need help.

A Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting a Human Rights Framework for Schools

Wed, 2012-08-01  The Dignity in Schools Campaign

The Dignity in Schools Campaign Model Code on Education and Dignity presents a set of recommended policies to schools, districts and legislators to help end school pushout and protect the human rights to education, dignity, participation and freedom from discrimination. The Code is the culmination of several years of research and dialogue with students, parents, educators, advocates and researchers who came together to envision a school system that supports all children and young people in reaching their full potential.









OTL Personal Opportunity Plan.pdf

In the first in a series of policy proposals, the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign advocates the creation of Personal Opportunity Plans for every student who is one grade level or more behind in reading or math, giving them access to the academic, social and heathcare supports they need to get back on track.


CIFC Background

Connecticut Institute For Communities, Inc. is a locally based community development corporation, serving low and moderate-income families throughout Western Connecticut. Since commencing operations in 2003, CIFC fulfills two unique roles; A) as a "safety-net provider" of social services and B) as an especially qualified "community developer" of programs and projects.

As a "safety-net provider" of social services, CIFC steps forward to make sure that needed and valued social services are properly organized, managed, and delivered to the intended recipients. As a community developer, CIFC takes on projects including physical development and/or rehabilitation.

The Federal Government has long recognized the valuable contributions made by community development corporations. For example, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget recently found, as a consequence of its Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART), the growing capacity of community development corporations in relation to the need for “effective organizations that foster community development”. OMB, PART, 2003.

“At its best, community development is a nonlinear enterprise: tackling two or three different but related problems can produce dramatically more results than a single-minded assault on just one target. That’s why the usual itemized inventory of community development corporation activities – an apartment rehab project, small business assistance, a clean-streets program, a workforce development partnership – often gives a poor picture of the organizations’ real mission and potential. These aren’t discrete, or even simply cumulative, activities. They are something like a chemical formula, intended to produce a transforming reaction.” Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), “The Whole Agenda: The Present and Future of Community Development”, 2002, page 8. 


Policymakers and practitioners who believe that research evidence should inform policy and practice

face several challenges. These include debates about the standards of evidence for allocating

resources to programs, weak information on how to produce change at scale, and concerns that

a few, well-evaluated programs will drive out others that deserve support. Such challenges threaten to undermine 30 years of progress in learning which social programs improve child, youth, and family outcomes. The purpose of this article is to describe a strategy that can inform these and other issues facing evidence-based policymaking.

Take, for example, programs and policies aimed at improving the well-being of young people. The standard evidence-based position assumes widespread improvement for children and youth will occur through “scaling-up” brand-name programs, models, and organizations that have produced effects in prior evaluations. Do more of what works and less of what does not; the idea seems prudent and has political appeal. There is currently great interest in this approach in the public sector, fueled in part by the availability of federal stimulus funds geared toward scaling up

evidence-based programs. Examples include the White House’s Social Innovation Fund (SIF), the Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation Fund (i3), and funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to replicate evidence-based home visitation and teenage pregnancy prevention programs. These initiatives are bold in scope and in their commitment to doing what works.

Prior history shows that programs that are effective at small scale have trouble maintaining that effectiveness when replicated more broadly. Recognizing this, the new initiatives include funding to support building the capacity of existing organizations to implement the evidence-based programs and, for larger projects, strong evaluation designs to test the effectiveness of the program at scale. This is fortunate because it creates a foundation for providing guidance on questions for which we currently have no conclusive answers: 

(1) What policies and other conditions improve the likelihood that programs will have positive effects?

(2) What organizations or other program-level policies and practices lead to positive effects?

Much research and development work is focused on clarifying the effects created by schools, youth organizations, and programmatic interventions. My argument is that too little of this work examines the conditions, policies, and practices that produce such effects. In today’s vernacular, we need more research attention paid to why and under what conditions things work as the missing ingredients in the “what works” agenda.

The good news is that the launch of the various federal initiatives creates an exceptional opportunity to improve our answers to these why and when questions. Understanding the answers to these questions would improve our ability to expand effective programs in a way that maintains their effectiveness. Using the new initiatives to pursue these questions has the added advantage of leveraging them to more effectively justify their cost in the current fiscal environment. We will learn about the effectiveness of this work, while also gaining enough knowledge to do even better work the next time. It is an opportunity we should not waste. Before describing how policymakers might pursue the learning agenda, I will explain why I am concerned.

Scale-Up in Practice

For the past seven years, I have been president of the William T. Grant Foundation. Part of running a mid-sized foundation strategically is operating in a way that is flexible and complements the work of larger public and private funders. Given our focus on vulnerable youth, those funders include research agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), as well as private funders such as the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Historically, we, along with our colleagues, have pursued scale-up strategies as we tried to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, youth, and families. One version of scale-up assumes that researchers will develop and incubate new strategies or programs, test those programs under limited circumstances, and then work with policymakers and practitioners to implement and test them at scale. This approach is rooted in the tradition of phased clinical trials in medicine, and NIH and IES favor it. The development of David Olds’s Nurse-Family Partnership is a good example, and congressional staff referenced that program heavily when the decision was made to scale-up home visitation as part of health care reform.

A closely related strategy, perhaps best exemplified currently by the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, is to search for promising organizations, encourage strong evaluations of organizational impact, and then expand the organizations that have promising evaluation results. This approach is similar to the strategy businesses use to expand their services and market share.

Not surprisingly, it is advocated by many of the management consulting firms that are currently working with philanthropic organizations. While NIH has funded many good evaluations of researcher-created programs, there are fewer strong studies of practitioner-developed programs, in part because many organizational leaders have avoided strong tests of their organizational impact. Yet, there are examples—the BELL Accelerated Learning Summer Program (BELL Summer) and the Carerra Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program are two.

The two scale-up approaches share a commitment to strong research and evaluation as the basis for assessing promise. This work has led to the identification of model programs and organizations that are effective at small scale, many of which are cataloged on websites created and maintained by public agencies and some nonprofit organizations. The most ambitious example of such a site, and perhaps the best, is the What Works Clearinghouse ( sponsored by the federal Department of Education. Other prominent examples include the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy’s Social Programs That Work (, Johns Hopkins University’s Best Evidence Encyclopedia (http://www., and the University of Colorado’s Blueprints for Violence Prevention (

Concerns about the Scale-Up Model

Despite the research community’s ability to identify promising programs, there is almost no evidence that it is possible to take such programs to scale in a way that maintains their effectiveness.

A recent report from the National Academies underscores this concern.

The 2009 report Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities concludes that substantial progress had been made in identifying efficacious interventions during the past 15 years, but that “thus far, however, preventive interventions have not been widely implemented in schools and communities and have done little to reduce behavioral health problems in American communities” (p. 297). While calling for more research on how to “implement and disseminate” interventions, the report also quotes a paper by Dean Fixsen and colleagues that synthesized what is known about the problems of implementation and replication of model programs. Fixsen and colleagues argue that “successful implementation is synonymous with coordinated change of system, organization, program, and practice levels,” and note that such coordination rarely exists.

Most current scale-up initiatives, including those the Obama administration is launching, are consistent with the Fixsen analysis: Better support, incentives, and infrastructure will lead to wider diffusion of model programs and organizations. Such improvements may lead to better results. However, the mixed success of prior efforts sends a strong message that changes via replication of evidence-based programs may never be enough to produce widespread improvements for vulnerable youth without additional adjustments to the strategy.

Programs as One

Influence on Youth

No one is satisfied with the current outlook for youth in the United States.

Too many young people lack the skills necessary for achieving success in school, work, and life. As we try to improve outcomes by increasing the availability and number of effective programs, it might be useful to consider how such programs fit into the larger array of forces that affect young people. Figure 1 depicts how youth development is influenced by what happens in the daily environments where youth spend their time: classrooms, households, neighborhoods, community-based programs, and in informal activities with peers and others. What happens in any one of these daily settings is influenced by what happens in the others (e.g., events at home influence what goes on in school and vice versa).

Powerful secular trends and unpredictable historical events shape these daily settings, as do public policies. For example, shifts in immigration patterns alter who is in our classrooms, an oil spill affects household incomes, and the evolving labor market influences how much the skills developed in a youth employment program are rewarded in the job market. Similarly, policies shape the nature of programs in intended and unintended ways (e.g., changes in accountability policies are meant to improve what goes on in schools but may also encourage more test preparation in lieu of other teaching).

Figure 1 is a useful reminder that we ought to be modest in our expectations of any scale-up effort that does not transform daily life, and programs are unlikely to be as transformative as the policies, secular trends, and historical events that shape youth and their daily settings. This makes it all the more impressive when evidence-based programs do beat the odds and make a difference for young people. (The criteria used in the social sciences to confer “evidence-based” on a program requires that it produce improvements in youth outcomes greater than those that would have happened without the program.)

Documenting this difference is not as difficult as it may seem. The best evaluation designs for measuring program effects (known as field experiments) use a lottery to allocate access to a program when it has excess demand. The lottery creates two equivalent groups, one who can attend the program under study and another who can attend similar programs in the community.

The two groups are followed, and when the outcomes for the two groups differ at a level not likely to be due to chance, the difference is logically attributed to the difference in experiences created by one group having access to the program of interest.

Learn When and Why Programs Are Effective

In the past 30 years, we have become much better at understanding how to conduct such lottery-based studies in “real-world” settings to produce accurate estimates of program effects. Such studies have made it possible to have a coherent discussion of what it means to be “evidence-based.” However, no single study tells us much about the conditions under which a program is effective, the policies that help it produce results, the capacities that affect an organization’s ability to implement an innovation, or the staff practices that directly improve youth outcomes.

If a program produces uniformly positive effects across multiple locations, these questions are less critical. However, that is rarely the case. Summaries of such program evaluations indicate that, although programs show outstanding results in some cases, most often they produce no net gain over the status quo, and occasionally, innovative programs are less effective than existing alternatives in the community.

Learning more about why and under what conditions programs are effective is possible once you have reliable estimates of those effects. In addition, you need good measures of the conditions, policies, and practices within and outside the program that might influence effects, along with a large number of lottery-based studies in which such measures can be used.

With the data gathered from such measures, it is possible to look across the individual studies and find the conditions, policies, and practices that predict effects.

Researchers have productively applied this strategy in a number of prior efforts. For example, in 2003, MDRC’s Howard Bloom and colleagues pooled the information from three large multi-site studies of the effects of welfare-to-work strategies on participant earnings. In these studies, different local welfare offices all used lotteries to decide if welfare recipients should receive innovative (but untested) services or services as usual, creating 59 small-scale experimental studies (i.e., one per office). Bloom and his colleagues then examined whether or not the condition of the local labor market predicted the impact of the innovative services on earnings (it did).

Prior to the Bloom analysis, some argued that innovative services for welfare recipients would be more effective when the unemployment rate was low, implying available jobs for participants if the services improved their motivation and preparation for those jobs. Others thought that the welfare-to-work programs would have less effect in such an environment, given that it would be relatively easy for clients to get jobs without help. It was also possible that people receiving welfare when unemployment was low would be particularly hard to employ and therefore difficult to help.

Bloom and colleagues found support for the first theory— welfare-to-work programs did better in labor markets in which unemployment was low. In their analysis, they found that the average program increased participant earnings by $879 during a two-year follow-up, but that a 1 percentage point increase in the local labor market’s unemployment rate reduced that impact on earnings by $94, with all other factors equal. While the study could not tell us why the local labor market mattered, such a finding is useful for situating such innovative programs and predicting their effects across communities.

Bloom and his colleagues also examined whether certain welfare- to-work practices were more effective than others—at least in the short term. Some were. The programs that emphasized quick job entry increased the average effect on participant earnings ($879, as noted above) by another $720, while those that emphasized basic education as preparation for work reduced the average earnings by $16. All estimates were larger than those expected to occur by chance.

Joseph Durlak and Roger Weissberg recently produced similar work in their review of the effects of after-school programs. They synthesized the results of 66 evaluations of after-school programs, looking at the effects on nine different measures of youth performance including social, behavioral, and academic performance. On average, they found positive effects on a number of important youth outcomes assessed in the different evaluations.

However, a subset of programs created large effects, and many programs created no net effects beyond those of a comparison group of youth. In trying to explain these results, Durlak and Weissberg identified four characteristics common to the subset of effective programs—each had a sequenced approach, got youth actively involved in learning, was focused on a few goals, and had activities explicitly tied to those goals.

The group of programs that had the SAFE characteristics (i.e., sequenced, active, focused, and explicit) created statistically significant impacts in all nine outcome categories assessed, while the cluster of programs that did not have all four characteristics had no positive effects.

As promising as this work is, it is not common, in part because investigators are limited to analyzing data originally collected in earlier studies. For example, Durlak and Weissberg were able to reliably code for the presence or absence of the SAFE characteristics, but it seems clear that such characteristics do not affect youth directly. Rather, they are in some way related to the daily experiences that young people have in programs.

It is possible that the positive effects are caused by the staff practices created in SAFE programs, and thus improving certain staff practices is the best path to achieving better youth outcomes. At this point, we do not know, because almost none of the prior after-school studies generated data on staff practices at the point-of-service. Those that did collect such information did not gather comparable data in the “control” condition, so it is impossible to know how the experiences of the two groups of youth differed over time.

A Learning Agenda for the Scale-Up Movement

Currently, it appears that federal agencies will use their various scale-up initiatives to produce reliable information on whether or not individual programs produce positive effects for young people when they are extended to new participants, organizations, and communities. However, these agencies are positioned perfectly to learn more. For example, in the Department of Education’s $650 million i3 fund, a large number of innovative programs— with promising but limited track records—will receive $30 million each to try to replicate their positive effects at scale in multiple locations. Given the priorities stated for i3, many of these efforts will focus on ways to improve teacher effectiveness or help failing schools. After a few years, it is likely that the evaluations will produce the usual results—each innovation succeeded in some instances, but not in others. It is possible to take a page from analysts such as Bloom et al. and Durlak and Weissberg and increase our knowledge about why that happened. I will outline one possible process for gaining that knowledge.

After funding decisions are made for each of the new initiatives, it is likely that federal and state funders will require a subset of grantees—probably those with larger grants—to conduct strong impact evaluations of their expansions. The funders should then foster a consensus on common data to be collected across the impact evaluations. Progress could be made with relatively little information.

The following questions are at the heart of current debates.

For each question, I’ve added a suggested way to collect good information to form the answer. Because we are trying to predict the patterns of effects across studies (and across sites within a sample study), this information should be collected prior to the beginning of the scale-up efforts (i.e., at “baseline”).

1. How does the rigor and extent of the prior research evidence of effectiveness predict effectiveness at scale? (Capture the rigor and extent of prior evidence in the review process.)

32 Pathways Winter 2011

2. Are programs more effective with certain youth and families than others? (Gather common measures of participants across evaluations at baseline.)

3. Are certain scale-up strategies more likely than others to produce effects at scale? (Categorize the planned scale-up strategies along practical dimensions, such as how expensive and how prescriptive they are.)

4. Are scaled-up programs more likely to make a difference in some environments than others? (Capture relevant baseline information on environmental factors that might influence effects, such as the mobility of youth or the extent to which services analogous to the innovation are available in the community.)

5. Are certain program approaches more likely than others to produce effects at scale? (Categorize program strategies along practical dimensions, such as the degree to which they are highly structured, their cost, or their presumed intensity and duration of services.)

6. Are there organizational policies, capacities, or practices that predict effectiveness when an organization replicates an evidence-based program? (Capture baseline information on proxies for organizational capacity, such as the stability of funding, leadership, and line staff.)

Not all of these data will be easy to acquire. Therefore, I would encourage a disciplined process in which a few items related to these questions are measured well. While some of this will require document review or a brief survey (e.g., information on financial stability, the baseline information on participants), much of it will be accessible from the applicants’ proposals (e.g., the program approach, the scale-up plan).

I understand that there is often a large difference in what is planned and what occurs and that organizations and innovations change over time in ways that may influence the effectiveness of the innovative program. That variation will be captured by local evaluators and can be used to explain results. However, such information, gathered after the fact, is not available to funders or program operators when they are making their plans and deciding on how to allocate finite resources. My suggestion is to gather additional information earlier to be used after the study is complete, in order to better understand the variation in implementation and impacts that is likely to occur within and across the various scaled innovations. How much evidence should funders require before supporting a program expansion? And what approaches to expansion produce the best results? We can learn the answers to these questions with a little effort and foresight.

My suggestions do require some cross-study planning and agreement, though not much. The Bloom et al. experience shows that it is possible for one firm (in this example, MDRC) to collect such information across multiple states and many local programs, and the Durlak and Weissberg review proves that it is possible to extract common information from disparate evaluations done by different teams. The new initiatives could provide consistent data across a large number of individual studies in many locations. This is exactly the scenario needed to permit the analyses I am suggesting.

Such coordination may produce additional benefits. Program developers frequently talk about the features that they believe distinguish their particular innovation and rarely acknowledge that there may be a set of strategies and practices common to all effective youth programs whether or not they have been rigorously evaluated. For example, in a recent compendium of observational measures of youth program quality, Nicole Yohalem and Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom (of The Forum for Youth Investment) examined the content of nine measures that are widely used to assess effective staff practices in youth programs. Although the measures varied slightly (e.g., some measured program management practices while others did not), all of them measured six common features of staff’s work with youth: 

(1) the supportiveness of relationships; 

(2) the program environment’s safety; 

(3) the predictability of the program’s structure and routines; and practices that produced

(4) positive engagement, 

(5) positive social norms, and 

(6) the opportunity to build new skills. The recognition of these commonalities is shaping subsequent work in the after-school field, as we try to identify the practices that produce good results. It is the sort of information we need in all youth fields to move beyond an endless stream of model-specific impact evaluations.

Answering the Big Why

I have argued that the results from scaling-up evidence-based programs have not been encouraging, in part because we do not know the conditions that lead to positive effects or what distinguishes the practices of programs that produce such effects from those that do not. My suggestions will not provide definitive answers to these questions. At the end, we will still have correlates of impact results, and we will not know if these correlates are causal agents. However, the ability to examine how well factors such as program context, content, and practices predict youth-level effects would put us far ahead of our current level of understanding. It is difficult to create a change in a young person’s experiences that has an impact on their long-term well-being. Thanks to rigorous evaluations of the effects of social programs, under some circumstances, we have found such effects. We need to use the scale-up initiatives to help us learn why.

Robert C. Granger is President of the William T. Grant Foundation.


Scaling Up 



What do we know for sure?


What makes a successful student, successful parent, successful family, 

"The most important decision a child can make to guarantee their success, is to carefully choose the right family to be born into."

A wise man once told me, "Bryan I can tell you're seeking answers.  What you really need to do is to ask the right questions, because no one is."

I didn't realize it at the time, that this really was wisdom.

I thought back to the O. J. Simpson trial.  I along with many people were glued to the TV watching the trial day in and day out. It became an obsession and I'm not really sure why. I know for me it was the first time I had ever observed a trial in progress, especially such a heinous and brutal crime. When the verdict was announced, it was an incredibly interesting moment based on people's reactions. Not only did it push to the forefront the racial divide that we wanted to believe didn't still exist in America, but it made many people really begin to wonder 


Who has been offering solutions?, what are they what will be achieved

What is the true cost of doing nothing, or doing more of the same or doing something new that we know probably won't work?

Topic Issues Options Reality Obstacles Solutions
Children are coming to school unprepared

Each level of education from kindergarten to community College

Social progression versus merit      Those closest to making the correct policy are in the most difficult positions,  



Education -remediation, more funding, universal pre-school, full-day kindergarten

Family Breakdown








Resistance to change




Collaborations with existing resources





Not being able to "turn the faucet off"


The "culture" - What are we learning from the media?


Page 18 of the Vernon Community Plan


The Vernon Community Network and Vernon School Readiness Council agree that a coordinated approach involving local, regional and state partnerships is most effective in addressing issues of abuse and neglect.

The following proposed strategies implemented locally, will make a difference for children Birth to 8 who are suffering and/or at risk of abuse and neglect.

1. Develop a coordinated system of response for identified families.

a) Establish a Child Advocacy Team (CAT), to create a collaborative approach to aid and assist families with complex service needs.

• Assess opportunity to redeploy existing resources

• Seek new funding

b) Capture historical (situational) responses of Vernon Community Network to date to map future responses.

c) Reduce barriers to participation in existing parent education programs.

d) Implement mentoring programs, based on the Parent-Aide model, a system for long-term commitment to families who exhibit the risk factors connected with child abuse and neglect.

e) Expand Nurturing Families Network screening and services in order to identify all families who present with risk factors for abuse and neglect and connect them with services.

2. Increase the capacity of the Vernon Community Network and its members to better meet the needs of children and families.

a) Conduct Asset Mapping of Vernon Community Network – individual, group and community members

• Host a Vernon Community Network Agency Fair – increasing awareness of existing services and resources

• Make targeted linkages by connecting community needs to the appropriate VCN provider or organization.

b) Create a coordinated calendar of training and technical assistance opportunities throughout the community.

• Program Performance and Accountability


How much did we do?

# of community volunteers who register for mentor training.

# of VCN members who attend capacity-building sessions.

How well did we do it?

% of volunteers who attend all mentor training sessions.

% of VCN members who attend capacity-building sessions.

% of VCN members who participate in the development of a coordinated system.

Is anyone better off?

% of trained volunteers that have increased ability to mentor others.

% of VCN members who report using acquired capacity-building skills in their work environment.

% of VCN members who adopt a common screening tool.

From page 56



Base Investment

FY 2012-13

FY 2013-14

FY 2014-15

Additional Detail

Develop a coordinated system of response for identified families.






Establish a Child Advocacy Team (CAT), to create a collaborative approach to aid and assist families with complex service needs.



Coordinator/case management position : 10hrs/week x $25/hr x 50wks+ FICA + Admin

• Assess opportunity to redeploy existing resources





Implementation Coordinator is responsible to convene meetings

• Seek new funding

Capture historical (situational) responses of Vernon Community Network to date to map future responses.

Reduce barriers to participation in existing parent education programs.




Implementation Coordinator is responsible to convene meetings, organize data collection and create outreach plan

Implement mentoring programs, based on the Parent-Aide model, a system for long-term commitment to families who exhibit the risk factors connected with child abuse and neglect.




Implementation Coordinator coordinates with faith community & KIDSAFE CT to develop mentor training

Expand Nurturing Families Network screening and services in order to identify all families who present with risk factors for abuse and neglect and connect them with services.





ECHN current grant funded program provides this service for fi rst-time parents deemed at-risk


From page 70




Policy Change is difficult, often there is a villain.  If we look at the individuals, the corporations or the industry as the enemy and treat them as such, it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Instead we need to look at them as allies to the solutions, we need to be reasonable and understanding .  Only if we don't get cooperation, then we have to go to the next level and publicly demand it.  If we then don't get it, do we publicly and in an organized manner swing public opinion. 


Who is accountable or responsible in each case?  can we legislate morality?


The reason we can't reason, there are too many agendas at play, often "hidden" agendas.


Ray Kroc's quote, I don't know what we'll be selling in 20500, but we'll be selling the most of them! 

Having resolved for state government to take control of as many as 25 of Connecticut’s worst-performing local schools — that is, schools crippled by the poverty of their students — Gov. Malloy has acknowledged in principle the real urban issue.

It’s not economic development, which his administration has turned into an ever-growing swamp of patronage, or mass transportation, which his administration mocks with its Hartford-to-New Britain “busway” project even as the Metro-North commuter railroad says that Connecticut’s biggest mass-transit system needs “billions” of dollars in renovations.

No, the real urban issue is child neglect and abandonment, primarily the fatherlessness induced by the welfare system that subsidizes it. This fatherlessness leads not only to the school failure for which the governor heroically is taking responsibility but also to the violence of young men who grow up as predators, violence such as what occurred in Hartford a couple of weekends ago — nine shooting incidents leaving two people dead and 10 injured. Some of the victims refused to cooperate with the police, indicating that they either were involved in a criminal undertaking themselves or that the police really can’t protect them or anyone else in Hartford.

The intense therapy the state Education Department plans for those failing schools will be a slow process, involving just a few schools at a time and presumably requiring decades to reach all Connecticut’s poverty-stricken schools. By contrast, welfare reform whose main objective was to reduce poverty by discouraging childbearing outside marriage would be comprehensive, applying throughout the state all at once and to both the crime and education problems.

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester


Ending the week, the governor signed legislation to conceal failure in education. Two years ago the state Higher Education Department reported that two thirds of the freshmen in the state university and community college systems need remedial math or English or both. But rather than act against the lack of high school graduation and college admission standards, the General Assembly misconstrued the problem as the extra time and cost being imposed on socially promoted students seeking college degrees.

So the new law prohibits separate remedial courses in the colleges and requires courses to have “embedded” remediation. That is, classes will be slowed and dumbed down for conscientious students so Connecticut may keep guaranteeing a pretend college education to kids who failed high school but were graduated anyway. And as there won’t be any more separate remedial classes, there won’t be any more shocking reports quantifying social promotion.

The new law directs high schools and colleges to coordinate their courses by 2016. But lack of coordination isn’t the problem, as a third of college freshmen still can handle high school math and English. The problem is that educators and elected officials lack the courage to do their jobs. It’s much easier for them if Connecticut keeps paying for 16 years of education without getting even 12.

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.

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