— By Mary Virtue, Consultant, ROMA Center Team —
Community Action Agencies have recognized the many obstacles faced by some families as they strive for self-sufficiency. Agencies across the country have heard from their customers and responded by bundling together many of the services families need. This approach has been used by agencies for decades because bundled service delivery affords the family opportunity to meet the targets they have set by providing support and access to a comprehensive range of services. Through the surveys completed by 16 agencies, associations, and state offices in three states, we have gained a better understanding of why agencies choose to offer bundled services delivery, how they identify and deliver the services that are needed, how they measure success, and how they, and their partners and customers, learn from their results. With this small sample we cannot represent the whole Community Action Network. Instead we have gathered lessons and offer recommendations for further, deeper study. Read the full report here.
We have learned important lessons that should inform ROMA Next Generation such as:
- The list of ROMA National Performance Indicators used to track progress is quite short. As we move toward asking for more information in this kind of reporting, we suggest using the indicators already tested by some states such as Missouri.
- Agencies are able to capture data quarterly for the families in their bundled services programs and they use this data in the delivery of services to the family. Whether aggregating the short list of NPIs quarterly serves a purpose is a different question. Any added report comes with a cost. It is questionable that the aggregation of local quarterly data at the state or national level is useful and it would take new technology and added staff at every level.
- A significant gap in the ROMA NPI information is how many people are in the bundled services programs, what are their characteristics, and how long are they in the program. From our survey, it seems that agencies know this, but the number is not reported at the state or national level. We recommend that agencies be asked, as part of the NPIs, to report the number of people in bundled services and what services they received. This would be helpful to the state and national level as it would help to tell the story of this work in the Network.
Finally, we strongly recommend that evaluation pilots be conducted to research the costs and benefits of bundled services and that the results be shared to advance promising practices throughout the Community Action Network.
|ROMA Next Generation Center of Excellence NASCSP is working to develop the “Next Generation” of ROMA principles, practices and resources. For more information, visit ROMA1.org|