The Program Design Road Map led you through the first six steps of Linkages planning. Now that you know what your Linkages program will look like, you’re ready to plan for putting it into practice. Essential elements of implementation include training, evaluation, communication, funding and sustainability, all of which are featured in Linkages toolkits.

7. Plan for Training Staff about Linkages

Training helps educate both management and line staff about the philosophy, practices and procedures that will guide Linkages operations. This planning step ensures supervisors, caseworkers and other staff involved in your Linkages program will be able to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and abilities to help families meet their goals of economic sufficiency and child safety. A menu of available curricula and tips for effective training are available on the Training Toolkit. Use this information to determine who needs to be trained, on what content and in what sequence.

8. Plan for Evaluating the Success of Linkages

Evaluation allows you to track and analyze client outcome data and other factors to measure the results of your Linkages program. These results can demonstrate the efficiacy of your service coordination effort as well as suggest areas where adjustments or improvements are needed. See the Evaluation Toolkit for guidance about how to plan and carry out evaluation of Linkages.

9. Plan for Communicating about Linkages

Getting the word out about Linkages increases awareness, creates buy-in and builds relationships between CalWORKs and CWS which can promote implementaiton success. While training is one activity that familiarizes practitioners with how Linkages works, communication provides the social marketing necessary for any new practice initiative to be fully embraced. Draw from the array of communications materials available on the Communications Toolkit to plan how to inform your constituencies about Linkages.

10. Plan How to Maximize Funding for Linkages

Successful Linkages programs understand how sources of funding for families involved in more than one system can be combined to better meet families’ needs and maximize limited county resources. This planning step can be done before you launch your Linkages program or after. Either way, visit the Fiscal Toolkit for ideas about how to actively involve fiscal staff in your Implementation Team and develop creative ways to cover the costs of services and supports for mutual families.

11. Plan for Managing and Sustaining Linkages

Appointing a Linkages Coordinator is an essential step to help ensure program operations are implemented as intended. Linkages involves breaking down historic barriers between the cultures, task groups and practices of CalWORKs and CWS and the Linkages Coordinator is central to this boundary spanning function. Visit the Sustainability Toolkit for more information about the people, processes and tools needed to manage and sustain a viable Linkages program.