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Comprehensive Community Initiatives, Improving the lives of youth and families through systems change, a toolkit for federal managers
How the toolkit was created What is a CCI? CCI Tools for Federal Staff
Develop your CCI Project
Guidelines to structure TA
6. Encourage sites to take the initiative in seeking out TA, but stay closely involved to make certain TA needs are identified and met.
What methods of delivering TA work best for CCIs?
What works best is...
  • Intensive, continuing, onsite TA that includes:
    • Coaching.
    • Process facilitation.
    • Training.
  • Peer and cross-site exchanges
  • Web sites and help desks to supplement site-based TA.

Intensive, continuing, onsite TA is most helpful--especially when it incorporates a wide variety of coaching, process facilitation, and training.

Peer and cross-site exchanges. Most sites find it helpful to meet with other sites to share information, discuss common issues, learn from one another, and build knowledge. Peer TA can take many forms:

  • Conferences and periodic regional meetings with time set aside for sites to compare notes and solve problems with peers. See the example of an invitation to a peer-to-peer gathering.
  • Visits to other sites that might include peer consultation or problem solving.
  • Annual TA planning meetings where sites, TA providers, and funders come together to review the previous year and map out upcoming TA priorities.
  • Fellowships--designating a person from each site who visits other sites and also attends gatherings where fellows pull together their collective experience for the use of all sites, future sites, and other CCIs.
  • An alumni group--a network of experienced sites that offers assistance to newly funded sites
  • Cross-site coaching.

Web sites and help desks to supplement site-based TA. Use the Internet to facilitate cross-site exchanges through bulletin boards, listservs, blogs, and online conferencing in real time. Consider asking a successful site director to start a blog. The Internet is also an efficient way to answer site questions and deliver training, either through interactive webinars or self-paced online courses. For an example of Web-based TA, see Systems of Care, and for an example of a Web-based help desk, see Shared Youth Vision.

How can I make Web-based resources useful to sites?

To make the Web a useful TA tool...

  • Notify sites whenever new information and resources are posted.
  • Use onsite time to demonstrate how to access and use online tools.
  • Access and use Web resources during online conferences.
  • Provide helpful tools and documents such as sample MOUs and job descriptions.
  • Market and monitor the site.
  • Track Web site use, and solicit feedback from sites about how to improve the Web site.
See the example of a web-based tool created by a funder to help sites develop a logic model.
What funding models should I consider for TA?

Consider several options for funding TA:

  • Fund a national organization. Give it a budget to contract with TA providers and manage TA.
  • Fund regional organizations or individuals. Fund a number of TA providers you can work with to provide TA to sites.
  • Fund sites so that they can purchase services directly from TA providers.

Look at the pros and cons of different funding instruments. Your choice will depend on how much flexibility and Federal involvement you want.

  • Performance-based contracts are highly prescriptive and leave little room for Federal involvement. Although they make it easy to maintain accountability and cost control, their drawback is inflexibility: you can't easily modify a contract.
  • Grants are more flexible than contracts, and allow some funder involvement in planning and decisionmaking.
  • Cooperative agreements. Cooperative agreements are a form of grant. They are extremely flexible and also allow a great deal of Federal involvement.
How can I be proactive with TA and still encourage sites to become self-directed?

Work with TA providers to:

  • Help sites focus on the big picture and not let day-to-day demands of getting a CCI off the ground overshadow TA.
  • Educate sites about what TA to ask for.
  • Communicate that asking for TA is a sign of strength and not a sign of weakness or inability to handle problems.
  • Move progressively toward site self-direction, shifting gradually to independent decisionmaking by the community.
  • Involve sites in annual reviews of TA and planning for the next year.
  • Develop a community-driven TA plan that draws on local resources.
  • Honor the sentiment often expressed by sites: Nothing about us, without us.