The National Association of Counties (NACo) selected four counties to participate in the Advancing Cross-System Partnerships Leadership Lab (“Leadership Lab”). The selected counties are Boone County, Mo.; Fairfax County, Va.; Merrimack County, N.H.; and Missoula County, Mont.
Each county participating in the Leadership Lab will develop a plan to promote decision-making across the health, human services and justice systems. The plans will focus on how to use data that are currently collected or should be collected to guide the development of new processes or refinement of existing ones that can improve the outcomes of people involved in the justice system. The counties that were selected to participate are expected to demonstrate progress in the how health, human services and justice systems collaborate, including setting goals for these cross-system partnerships and identifying performance measures to assess their effectiveness. The goal of the Leadership Lab is to help counties improve the social, health and economic outcomes of populations that are involved in the justice system through the coordination of services and supports provided by the county and its community-based partners.
As part of its application, each county identified a target of the population involved in the justice system for which it would like to enhance its cross-system coordination. For example, Boone County, Mo., identified people who are experiencing homelessness and Missoula County, Mont., will focus on families involved in parental termination proceedings. Counties that were selected had an existing foundation on which to base cross-sector or multidisciplinary efforts and were assessed, in part, on the appropriateness of the proposed team to address the needs of the target population identified by the county and the strength of existing efforts in the county to coordinate services.
NACo will provide technical assistance to the selected counties for the next 15 months. In addition to tools, resources, meetings at NACo’s Annual and Legislative Conferences and quarterly virtual meetings, each county will host a local one-day forum with elected officials, decision-makers, policy implementers and other stakeholders from the justice, health and human services systems. These forums will focus on how to coordinate efforts across systems, address priorities and improve outcomes by identifying solutions and strategies to overcome barriers to advancing data-driven approaches.
The Leadership Lab is a partnership between NACo and the Kresge Foundation. The Kresge Foundation supports efforts to create pathways and expand opportunities for low-income people to improve their life circumstances and economic mobility.