This toolkit helps you determine whether your county is ready for service collaboration between CalWORKs and Child Welfare Services, what type of Linkages program best fits your service environment and how to get Linkages up and running.
Linkages is a new way of coming together to serve families. An important first step is to assess your county’s readiness and capacity to proceed with putting Linkages in place. You’ll need to find out if your county has families who can benefit from Linkages. And you’ll need to know if your service system can be flexible enough to work in partnership. Before planning starts, take a moment to reflect on the characteristics of your county. Use the Readiness Questionnaire to engage both CWS and CalWORKs in a dialogue about whether Linkages is right for your county at this time.
Creating a Work Plan
Based on the information revealed by the Readiness Questionnaire, planning for Linkages can begin. Documenting a clear path from where you are now to fully operational service coordination helps everyone keep their eyes on the prize. It is important that leadership supports the development of a work plan and empowers the Implementation Team to use the plan as a monitoring tool to ensure implementation is staying on course. Download the Linkages Work Plan Template to document the tasks, resources and timeframes for getting Linkages developed and launched in your location.
Customizing Your Program
Linkages is not a one-size-fits all program; you determine the nature of Linkages service coordination that will meet your county’s needs. Working with your Implementation Team, choose the target population to be served, the type of service coordination strategies needed and the policy and practice foundation for your Linkages program. Use the Program Design Road Map to customize these program elements to suit your needs. Many examples from successful Linkages programs across California are included to help you along the way.
Setting the Stage for Implementation
Once your Linkages program is customized, the next step is to plan the infrastructure needed to get it up and running. Build off examples throughout the Linkages Toolkit website to develop administrative supports such as program oversight, training, evaluation and fiscal management. Use the Implementation Planning Road Map as a guide including useful tips about how to move from planning to action.
Now you’re ready to put Linkages into practice. Assist your team in keeping implementation on course by following advice based on the experience of California counties where Linkages is already in place. The Lessons Learned information highlights pitfalls to avoid and strategies that work.