"Families are better served through trusting and supportive relationships. When a family feels that with an organization and then that organization has trusted relationships with their partners everyone is better off. Partners refer knowing that they have similar values and vision in serving families and a full and rich system can help to address all the issues of families. We want families and partners to feel like neighbors rather than clients."
United Way of Utah County
The South Franklin Early Childhood (SFEC) Community Partnership was formed with leadership from the United Way of Utah County to improve families’ connections to services in the South Franklin neighborhood of Provo, Utah. Approximately 20 community partners providing services such as home visiting, parenting classes, pregnancy services, case management, health screenings, early childhood services and concrete supports engage in this partnership to collaborate, build relationships, and share information in an effort to increase the likelihood that families are able to access the services they need.
While the community vision of South Franklin in Utah is fairly common for IRIS communities, increasing coordination between partners to help families access the services they need, what sets them apart is the strong collaborative angle through which they approached the implementation process. They were able to launch the IRIS network on April 1st, 2019 after only 4 months of work.
By focusing on collaborative discussions, relationship building, and collective decision making, the process moved smoothly. One successful approach was that each month during network meetings, partner organizations were able to present about their organization which helped increase referrals and engagement. In February 2020, every partner participating in the network (19 total) received at least one referral. The increased variety of connections is indicative of the knowledge built and relationships developed among the partners.
This deep trust and collaborative nature was also reflected in the capacity update feature of their IRIS network. The feature allows partners to record their availability to accept referrals to ensure that partners and families aren’t promised services that cannot be delivered on. On average, 22 unique updates to capacity were made across the network each month, with many partners making multiple updates each month. In March 2020, with the onset of COVID-19, partners quickly updated their capacity information in IRIS to reflect closures and changes in service delivery to inform referrals. Partners have continued to use capacity updates to ensure that any referral made can be responded to, improving successful connections and removing the burden on families to navigate closures, wait lists, and delays in response to need. IRIS allowed this community to adapt, grow, and continue to communicate through an unprecedented year.