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Collaboration Structure

Collaboration Structure

Key aspects of the Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development (ICYD) structure include:

Formalized council membership designated in legislation

The legislation not only formalized the council in 2009, but designated that it shall include the directors and chief administrators—or their designees—from the following state agencies and programs:

Mandating the involvement of all these agencies ensures that ICYD is representative of a range of youth-related issues and creates a place for these agencies to work together in a united manner. In addition to the mandated members, the council is able to invite additional members to be involved. View the current list of ICYD council representatives here. See best practices to learn more about the benefit of having consistent representation for national opportunities.

Two-tier organizational structure

ICYD benefits from a two-tier organizational structure. This structure includes a leadership team (or council) and a results team. The council is made up of each state department’s director or designee, and is led by a chair who is elected by the group. While it is not mandated in the legislation, the director of the Department of Human Rights has been elected to chair the council since its inception. Because the members of the council, as directors of agencies, are appointed by the governor, council members recognized that it was important for them to elect their own chair. This ensures that the chair is a member who fully supports of the goals of the council. The council acts as the decision-making body for ICYD.

The ICYD results team is made up of staff from different agencies represented on the council. The team assists with carrying out decisions made by the council and brings recommendations to the council. Members of the results team have staff time designated to ICYD from their agency. The results team has a lead staff member who helps to coordinate and keep the work of the team going in order to support the collaboration and the objectives set forth by the council.

A strategic plan outlining goals and annual reports providing status updates

ICYD developed a strategic plan spanning from 2007-2010. In 2010 the strategic plan was reapproved and is scheduled to be revised in 2012. The plan includes four broad strategies and action areas that relate to those strategies:

  • Align policies and coordinate resources and efforts to effectively address complex youth-related issues and achieve shared results.
  • Build capacity of state, regional, and local youth-serving systems to improve their services and collective ability to achieve the shared results for youth.
  • Ensure that youth have a voice in decisions that affect them.
  • Mobilize Iowans to increase community demand for more and better supports and opportunities for youth.

Each year ICYD develops an annual report that is submitted to the governor and the legislature. The annual report discusses the work that the ICYD has accomplished during the past year and its goals for the following year. Data are included in the annual report to measure the progress of its efforts and to identify areas of need.

While the strategic plan has been helpful, the council recognized that the lofty goals presented in the strategic plan did not provide enough direction for its work. As a result, the council recognized it was important to establish a tangible goal that they could work toward. See lessons learned for more about why the lofty goals in the strategic plan didn’t provide enough direction and best practices to learn more about the importance of developing a common goal.

Youth involvement

Since its inception, ICYD has been a champion of positive youth development. ICYD recognizes the importance of youth involvement and including youth voices in its work. As one of the four strategies in the strategic plan, ICYD supports youth leadership development, provides more opportunities for youth to be involved in state government, and encourages and supports youth leadership opportunities at the community level.

The State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC), a youth advisory group supported by ICYD, is one example of the importance that ICYD places on youth involvement. Youth involved in SIYAC participate as part of the council meetings in order to share the youth voice with the governor and legislature. Involvement in ICYD meetings allows these youth to work closely and make connections with individuals who are leaders in the government. The council supports an AmeriCorp Vista member to help coordinate SIYAC and provides funds to support travel expenses.

One of ICYD’s upcoming goals is to provide youth leadership training to encourage youth throughout the state to be involved at the state and local level.

Regular meetings

The leadership team of ICYD meets on a quarterly basis. While they originally met monthly, a lack of participation due to competing commitments led them to alter the schedule. At the meetings, the council approves the minutes from the previous meeting, shares issues, and operates under Robert’s Rules of Order for decisionmaking purposes.

The results team and SIYAC meet once or twice between these meetings to fulfill ongoing work and develop recommendations for the council. Because the council meets less frequently, the results team is responsible for ensuring that the council is provided with all necessary information prior to the meetings to ensure that decisions are made in a timely manner.

Partnerships with national organizations and local communities and programs

The results team reaches out to other partners at the local, state, and national level to support their work. These partners may not always be involved but are brought in on an as-needed basis. Some examples of state and local partners that have supported the work of ICYD are the Youth Policy Institute of Iowa, Youth and Shelter Services, Iowa Afterschool Alliance, and Community! Youth Concepts.

ICYD has also benefited from partnerships with national organizations such as the Forum for Youth Investment and their Ready by 21 initiative. Through its work with Ready by 21, ICYD partnered with local communities and the United Way to implement Ready by 21 practices. In addition, ICYD has been able to help support local communities and programs in its efforts to support youth. Over the years of its existence, ICYD has been able to funnel money that has been received through grants to communities to support their youth development efforts. ICYD reaches out to the local level to determine communities’ needs and the local level looks to ICYD for support as needed.