Children, Youth and Families

Joining Forces for Families (JFF)

What Results Have You Seen So Far?

The JFF teams—in conjunction with local residents, private sector interests and others—are achieving successes. In all JFF areas, collaborative networks have formed to provide services to families and implement a variety of projects that have improved people’s lives. Progress can be seen in several areas including:

Creation of local, community-based collaborations

Community-based teams comprised of front line professionals and other stakeholders have been developed in twenty-six geographic areas. These teams have proactively taken ownership of children, youth and families issues in their local areas. Human service, public health, police and schools systems have been linked on a local geographic basis. Services are now better coordinated, more holistic and flexibly accessible because of a multi-disciplinary team approach. Service referrals are more timely and appropriate. Assistance at the local level is provided readily according to the stated needs of families generating a greater trust in our systems and institutions and better outcomes for families.

Major indicators and qualitative data indicate positive impacts system wide and in select geographic areas

Since the inception of JFF, there has been a decline in child maltreatment referrals to human services intake despite demographic trends (i.e., increasing population and rates of poverty) that would logically result in an increase. Family situations are now being informally resolved that would have typically required formal system intervention. In short, JFF teams are deflecting families away from court involvement, resulting in a substantial saving of system resources. Additionally, crime has decreased and neighborhood environments have been dramatically improved in select areas due to JFF partnerships with other stakeholders and local residents.

Provision of community-based resources and service delivery has increased under the auspices of JFF

The presence of JFF teams across the county has created a vehicle to create and provide other resources and services at the local level. Employment, housing, and basic human needs assistance is now offered locally through many JFF teams in partnership with other providers. JFF teams in many areas have created extensive linkages with local faith-based communities that has resulted in the provision of additional resources to these areas. Select JFF teams have also created special programming to respond to local needs in a broad range of areas including family and youth recreation, parental support, eviction prevention, securing housing for hard to place families, and community-building activities with residents. In the recent past, JFF has developed and enhanced their outreach efforts to the Hmong and Spanish-speaking populations of Dane County.

Through their collaborative efforts, JFF members believe they have achieved some successes in preventing the escalation of problems with children, youth and families…successes which have saved taxpayers money by keeping people from requiring more intensive and costly services.

In addition to this information, the county is now tracking performance indicators in several areas such including:

  • data on community and neighborhood well being (e.g., school attendance, delinquency data, etc.)
  • type of family outcomes resulting from JFF team interventions; and
  • JFF stakeholder and resident satisfaction with JFF team activities.

This work will provide the community with a comprehensive report card on how JFF is impacting children, youth and families within communities across Dane County.