In the early 1900's, the Minnesota State Legislature acted to create a vehicle to foster inter-agency collaboration on a very local level, to address issues affecting families with children. The goal of collaboratives is to work toward shared assessment of the children's needs, and to plan activities and pool resources to address them. Family Service Collaboratives are generally comprised of entities, which provide services that impact the health and social well-being of children. Community Action Agencies such as SMOC are mandated participants in the creation and implementation of collaboratives. SMOC currently participates in the Nobles and Rock County Collaboratives. Activities and projects developed by these bodies include: asset building for youth, literacy programming, domestic abuse prevention counseling, child advocates in school systems, bi-lingual outreach services, and building local coalitions to address youth issues.

To promote the development of service systems that

can more effectively support the needs of local families,

Family Connections had agreed to assume the following

responsibilities: 

~  To advocate for families' support needs by identifying community goal-setting and fostering the leadership and collaboration needed to address these issues.

~  To convene problem-solving dialogue on issues that cross systems and to assist in coordinating system improvement efforts being planned by other collaborative groups.

~  To establish a comprehensive strategic plan that can guide county-wide efforts to create support systems that will nurture the development of healthy families.

~  To provide funding or other resources to agencies promoting prevention and early intervention services for families.

~  To initiate programs that can fill services gaps or enhance existing services.

Family Connections consists of various work groups organized to support established outcomes and goals. The core membership includes representatives from 13 different organizations or programs.

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