Plan Development Updates
Sarasota County Community Plan for Children and Youth
The Positive Youth Development (PYD) Council, formed in 2010 to support the positive development of youth and their families through community partnerships, has fostered a discussion about the need to create a comprehensive community plan for children and youth. In 2016, SCOPE was invited to participate in a series of meetings with the PYD Council and asked to serve as the convening organization for the development of the Plan. SCOPE and the PYD Council requested Sarasota County to be a primary funder of this work; a contract with SCOPE was approved by the County Commission in December 2016. Although the time frame for full development of the Community Plan for Children and Youth is anticipated to span two years, the 10-month contract covers Plan development activities for the first year, up through September 30, 2017.
Throughout the nation and in Florida, communities realize the value of such planning as essential to a healthy future. Models and best practices are being employed in other areas that can guide work in Sarasota, while still allowing customization for local conditions. Sarasota County has a long history of nurturing area youth though high quality schools, libraries, sports, and non-profit led programs. Yet economic realities have forced our families and communities to make difficult choices, often preventing youth who need help the most from getting the support they need. With everything we do to support our children and youth, barriers and challenges prevent best efforts from reaching all youth.
A county-wide Plan for Children and Youth provides the framework for a comprehensive approach to support all young people growing to healthy adulthood. The plan tells our community that:
- Leaders have come together around a common cause: children and youth
- The plan is based on the best thinking and evidence available
- Stakeholders will break out of silos to work across systems and sectors
- The outcomes achieved will depend on the supports provided
- Participants and organizations will have tasks and timelines for accountability
Through the process of developing the Plan, we intend to:
- Identify community gaps and needs
- Identify cross-sector and cross-system goals
- Develop strategies to address needs and meet common goals
- Increase coordination among youth-related community initiatives and program
- Develop strategies that maximize impact and eliminate inefficiencies
- Best Practice Literature Review
- Programs and services inventory
- Needs Assessment, including
- Subject matter expert interviews
- Focus group discussions
- Community conversations
- Stakeholder surveys
- Dashboard of key indicators and targets relevant to youth achievement
- Shared mission, vision and plan
Role of SCOPE
SCOPE is serving as the backbone organization and contract manager, and is leading county-wide data collection and analysis. SCOPE is reaching out to potential stakeholders and project participants to map existing programs, services, and initiatives related to children and youth; collect, analyze, and summarize gaps and needs assessment data from subject matter expert interviews, focus groups, and surveys; and engage stakeholders, such as youth, parents, teachers, service providers, and others throughout the development of the youth plan.
Best Practice Literature Review
We reviewed community youth plans from 37 cities and counties and selected 12 of them for an in-depth examination of youth plan frameworks; leadership structures; research methods; focus areas; strategies and recommendations resulting from needs assessments; and accountability frameworks. You can read our review here.
We also conducted phone interviews with representatives from six of the above communities about their youth plan implementation process. Here are some of the lessons learned about the best practices of plan implementation:
- Hiring a staff person to lead the implementation effort
- Giving the responsibility of implementation to an existing institution (e.g., Parks and Rec, the school district)
- Having regular reporting requirements to county government and the community, including detailed progress on goals
- Having an implementation schedule and recognizing that implementation is a multi-year process
- Getting broad community buy-in from multiple agencies, systems, and stakeholders
- Forming a strong relationship with the school district
- Having funding sources other than county or city government
- Providing grant opportunities to organizations based on how they are meeting the goals of the Plan
Program Mapping / Inventory of Existing Organizations and Services
In order to know what organizations, programs, services, and activities are already available for children and youth, we are compiling an inventory. We have already identified over 340 youth related organizations and programs to survey, have prepared questionnaire based on the Forum for Youth Investment Ready by 21’s programming mapping instrument.
How can you be involved?
- Identify additional youth related programs and services to survey [programs and services list]
- Fill out the questionnaire as a representative of your youth related program
Subject Matter Expert Interviews
Through interviews with subject matter experts (SMEs), we are asking SMEs to:
- serve on the Leadership Committee
- recommend other SMEs that should be consulted or included
- help identify and gain access to stakeholder groups and individuals
- identify focus areas for needs assessments and other data collection
- recommend indicators/data for measuring overall progress and key outcomes
A Leadership Committee is being formed to guide the development of the Plan. It will include County and city civic leaders, school district representatives, business leaders, members of the PYD Council, Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, non-profit service providers, faith-based organizations, Health and Human Services policy coordinators, children and youth, and citizens at large. The Leadership Committee will provide guidance and feedback to SCOPE throughout the data collection process (e.g., review data collection instruments; identify stakeholders, subject matter experts, and focus areas); and use the gaps and needs analysis conducted by SCOPE to develop a county-wide vision, mission, and recommendations, including outcomes for measuring implementation and progress.
Progress so far:
- Determined potential roles and responsibilities based on best practice research
- Inviting potential members to join Leadership Committee [leadership committee members so far]
- Scheduled three Leadership and Launch meetings at three different locations throughout the County [list of attendees at each meeting]
We are conducting a needs assessment to find out what youth-related needs exist in Sarasota County. The needs assessment involves a variety of data collection methods, including subject matter expert interviews, focus groups, community conversations, and surveys.
Dashboard of key indicators
Once cross-system goals are identified by the leadership committee, key indicators will be chosen to measure progress on those goals. SCOPE has developed a preliminary dashboard by extracting youth-related indicators from SCOPE’s Community Report Card and Health and Human Services Scorecard. View the dashboard here.
- 25 indicators in four categories: Mental and Physical Health, Safety, Education, Young Adults
- Will be refined and enhanced throughout the planning process