Learn more about the practices that have helped Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development (ICYD) work collaboratively to achieve results.
Since its inception ICYD has acted as a hub or clearinghouse for a number of youth-related initiatives. Creating a common entity that works on youth-related issues has enabled ICYD to present a united front for federal and national opportunities. ICYD has also recognized that it is important to look for support from a variety of sources. For example, it has worked with the Department of Labor’s Shared Youth Vision (PDF, 4 pages), Ready by 21, Family and Youth Service Bureau (FYSB) youth development grants, National Crime Prevention Council, National Governors Association, and others. While some other states have different representatives for different initiatives, by having one group that represents Iowa for all youth related initiatives, ICYD has found that it can more easily make connections between overlapping initiatives. Having a single entity has also been helpful in the grant application process.
Once the legislation passed to formalize the ICYD, members recognized that the council would be held accountable to the governor and legislature for its work. While all of the agencies agreed to the goals in the strategic plan, the goals were too lofty to provide enough direction. When making decisions, the members of the ICYD council not only thought about the benefits of a certain activity for ICYD and the youth of Iowa, but also how it would affect their agencies. In establishing the goal, that by 2020 Iowa would increase the graduation rate from 89 percent to 95 percent, the council found it was a unifying objective that led to action. Members could see how their individual agencies played a role in achieving this overarching goal and began to think about what their agencies were doing or could do to increase the graduation rate. See lessons learned for more information about why the lofty goals in the strategic plan didn’t provide clear direction for youth groups.
Since the development of ICYD, there has been a focus on positive youth development. Prior to the work of ICYD, people in Iowa were not widely familiar with positive youth development. The ICYD has been able to educate and disseminate information from a number of different positive youth development models. In addition, the Department of Public Health now provides grants that focus on positive youth development and mandates the inclusion of evidence-based practices.
In addition to the common goal of improving graduation rates in Iowa, the collaboration among agencies allows them to work together on other initiatives in the state. For example, about half of the agencies involved with ICYD, including the Department of Public Health, the Department of Human Rights, Office of Drug Control Policy, Department of Human Services, and the Department of Education, came together to establish a statewide survey of youth. The Iowa Youth Survey is a self-report survey taken every two years by about 95-98% of youth in sixth, eighth, and eleventh grades. The survey focuses on respondents’ perception of life (e.g., family, school, and community) and their behaviors and attitudes. Data from the survey are used by ICYD, state agencies, and communities.