Thanks to our network of organizations and leaders across the state, TNOYS has access to incredible expertise for strengthening youth services programming and administrative functions. In our effort to support youth services organizations so they are best able to serve our state’s young people, we share our expertise with organizations who need it through our consulting services program. Covenant House Texas recently took advantage of this resource by reaching out to TNOYS for help coordinating and streamlining case management processes with two of its community partners, HAY Center and its larger umbrella Harris County Protective Services.
Covenant House, which operates an emergency shelter, residential programming, counseling and case management for young adults experiencing homelessness in Houston, found that it was regularly serving the same young clients as HAY Center and HCPS. Although the three organizations communicated regularly and worked together, they did not have a coordinated case management system that facilitated easy information sharing or referrals. This resulted in duplication of effort, including requiring youth to complete repetitive paperwork and assessments at each agency.
The collaboration secured grant funding from Greater Houston Community Foundation to strengthen and streamline its processes for working with youth collaboratively. They included TNOYS as a subcontractor and third party expert in their grant proposal to help facilitate the development of an action plan and ensure the collaboration process would keep moving forward.
TNOYS’ Director of Training and Program Development Lara O’Toole, helped the collaborative partners identify goals, past successes, challenges, and achievable next steps for streamlining and better coordinating their work. TNOYS also provided research on case management best practices to support the work of the group. Additionally, TNOYS staff completed focus groups with youth clients at all three organizations in order to understand their experience and be sure the collaboration’s work would address youths’ needs. After the collaborative developed an action plan, TNOYS helped ensure a successful rollout by consulting with case managers and other staff who would be impacted on integration of the plan into their day-to-day work.
The project is now in its final trial implementation phase and has served 19 youth, exceeding the funder’s requirements. TNOYS helped the collaborating organizations capture their successes in the final grant report that went to the funder. Thanks to their enhanced collaboration and the support provided by TNOYS, these three organizations have continued to collaborate, including by securing additional funding for a shared internship position.
The effort is just one example of how TNOYS staff and our network of expert consultants can provide important outside perspective and capacity when youth services organizations need to enhance their organizational structure and programming. For organizations that often find themselves with limited time and resources, sometimes an extra hand from a knowledgeable source can make all the difference.