Thursday, November 4, 2010

Collaboration Part II

And speaking of nets - one thought keeps coming to mind – we need to work together to improve the safety net for the people we serve who have the most difficult needs to meet.

Let me explain a little further. For a long time, Community Centered Boards (CCBs) in Colorado were the presumptive provider of last resort for individuals who had needs that no other provider could meet. The fact of the matter is CCB is function that specifically does not include providing services. Coincidently, Imagine! is also a leading provider of services and also struggles to meet the needs of some of Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens.

Unfortunately, a combination of dwindling resources and regulatory changes have made the task of serving individuals with complex needs much more difficult in recent years, even for leading service providers. And if the best leading providers can’t do it, there is no other safety net for serving these folks. In most scenarios, the lack of a safety net means there are few alternatives, and in those alternatives no one wins – not the State, not the taxpayers, not the local communities, and certainly not the individuals who so desperately need services.

So I have begun the effort to reach out to all of our local service providers and other organizations to see if we can pool our knowledge and resources to ensure that even the individuals in our community with the most challenging needs are able to develop the skills and tools they need to become productive and contributing members of society. If all the right players are on board, I believe we can make this happen.

Then again, what do I know?


  1. I'm inspired by what you're doing, Mark. What have you come up with so far?

  2. Bruce, thanks for your question.
    Earlier this year we wrote a grant proposal to the US Department of Health and Human Services that specifically addressed those who might fall through the systems' cracks. Although the proposal was not funded, the model we proposed is sound. We intend to introduce a version of the proposal in Boulder County in 2011.
    As well, I regularly meet with the ACL, our local advocay organization, to help us identify people who are not funded for services, and to identify potential solutions. We will bring our network of providers into the loop soon to see what resources and contacts can be shared to help build a safety net. The more people we bring into the conversation - the more likely we will succeed.