The ability of all American families to raise their children to become responsible, productive and contributing adults is a critical issue. As a nation we need to talk about this now. Convenings are powerful catalysts for change. We discuss and disseminate our thinking and learn from others through four main channels:
The shift from distress-focused to comprehensive, success-focused approaches is disruptive and long-term. The shift will require the friendly and inspired mobilization of policymakers, leaders of public and private organizations and individuals towards a common holistic vision that guides policies and procedures, organizational structure, program and funding strategies, and evaluation and public dialogue. Ultimately, the realization of transformative, systemic change will require horizontal and vertical policy and funding alignment across current silos and among all governmental levels. To that end, we support the creation and implementation of family success-informed policies and infrastructures, financial mechanisms, and measurement instruments at all levels of public and private investment.
It is one thing to talk about family success at research tables and policy forums and quite another to actually do the work, on the ground, in the real world. With our colleagues at JANUS Solutions, a well-established human services consulting firm, our team works with communities to bring to life Local Family Success Initiatives. We forge strategies for collaborative leadership and community mobilization, planning and the development of innovative services. While each local initiative is unique, our method is to work with each community using a common framework, approach and activities, with our developmental model, Journeys and Pillars of Family Success, as a guide.
A primary part of our work has been to support the development of the over sixty publicly and privately funded Family Success Centers (FSCs) through training and technical assistance. We originated the growth of FSCs in Newark with the establishment of eight public and private-funded centers that were integral to then-Mayor Cory Booker’s Local Family Success Initiative – Nurturing and Empowering the Children and Families of Newark. We are proud that the FSCs that began in Newark are now found all across New Jersey.
In the communities of Newark, Camden, Union, Asbury Park, Middlesex, Monmouth & Passaic County, we have partnered with state and local government leaders, advocates, community-based providers and families to facilitate and support substantial Local Family Success Initiatives. In each case, family and community members joined with local leadership in the creation of community standards, action initiatives and methods of measuring progress. Each local initiative includes a formal leadership body that plans, takes action and measures impact, and each includes parental professional development and technical assistance.