Since the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act in 1964, Community Action Programs have been providing anti-poverty programs in the U.S. Many of these agencies have an emphasis on the provision of Head Start and Early Head Start Programs. For the past several months, Chris Smith has been working with the Kansas Association for Community Action Programs (KACAP) to develop and deliver two levels of technical assistance and training that focus on quality improvement processes. These levels are described below.
Level I: Level I focuses on developing and delivering a number of statewide, regional, and local workshops and training options for Community Action Programs regarding integrated outcomes for children. The training focuses on the development of internal and external outcomes teams, common values and language, fact-based needs assessments, logic models, strategic planning, and continuous assessment processes. The work of Level I is broken into three phases including:
Phase I: Develop and deliver an address to a statewide conference regarding integrated outcomes for children. (Feb. 2-3, 2005)
Phase II: Develop and deliver three regional workshops in Salina, Wichita and Topeka regarding integrated outcomes. (Feb. 17-18; Feb. 23-24; and March 3-4, 2005)
Phase III: Develop and deliver approximately 12 locally-defined technical assistance opportunities regarding integrated outcomes for children. (April through June, 2005) Level II:
Level II focuses on working with three Community Action Programs to undertake a comprehensive self-study process that requires a self-evaluation of the organization according to newly established national standards of excellence for the programs. These standards include 7 categories of excellence, including 36 indicators and 96 questions that are designed to elicit information relevant to the standards. Dr. Smith attended training in New Orleans last year to become a trained evaluator for these national standards. These standards include:
- Organizational Leadership
- Strategic Planning and Direction
- Customer, Constituent, and Partner Focus
- Human Resource Focus
- Organizational Process Management
- Information Systems Management
- Organizational Results
As a part of this Level II effort, Dr. Smith will work with the participating Community Action Agencies as they undertake their self-study process using the new national standards. His work will focus on providing training and technical assistance to local agency staff regarding the meaning of the standards and how the agency can improve its services and processes to meet the national standards of excellence.