Center for the Study of Social Policy - 40 Years of Innovation
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Results-Based Technical Assistance

CSSP believes technical assistance should be directly linked to the overall goals of a recipient community, organization, group or entity.  Interventions should combine the right amount of skill/knowledge development and relationship building to enable recipients to take action on their stated goals.  Our approach is guided by the belief that effective technical assistance views constituents – residents, families, community leaders, parents and youth – as expert advisors of the changes needed in their communities. 

CSSP helps communities map out the “who, what and how” of their community change efforts by identifying:

  1. Results, or conditions of child and family well-being they want to attain.
  2. Resources they needed in order to build the local capacity necessary to achieve sustainable change.
  3. Relationships with key stakeholders that needed to be built and strengthened to create ongoing focus on improving results.

Our results-based approach is founded on a set of principles for engaging with communities to provide assistance:

  • Demand driven and co-designed: CSSP believes effective technical assistance is a partnership with the community.  Together, participants identify objectives and priorities, learn about local opportunities and develop strategies that produce the best outcomes.
  • Informed by the best available data: Relevant data about child, family and community conditions and trends is always used to help partners make good decisions about their goals, strategies and use of technical assistance.  We combine the best available data with common sense and on-the-ground learning.
  • Respects the expertise of people involved in and affected by the process.  CSSP seeks to authentically engage community residents, families and others in the technical assistance process so the outcomes reflect their priorities, viewpoints and insights. 
  • Tailored to individual needs and environments.  CSSP works to assure technical assistance builds on partners’ strengths, assets and capacities, enables people to act effectively on what they learn and builds new knowledge and capabilities in a community or organization.
  • Promotes equity and social justice.  CSSP helps all partners constructively address issues of inequity due to race, class, culture, language, age, sexual orientation and power.  Results-driven technical assistance helps advance community change by tackling underlying causes of social and systemic inequality.
  • Emphasizes scale and sustainability.  Effective technical assistance should help achieve and sustain improvements that have the greatest potential for changing the way communities operate over the long-term.

Peer-to-Peer Technical Assistance

CSSP’s results-based approach to technical assistance emerged in part from a decade of work to engage people from different states and communities in peer learning exchanges.  These “peer matches” brought together colleagues interested in learning from each other about how to transform neighborhoods, change systems and improve service delivery for low-income families.  Over time, peer matches became standard practice for dozens of communities working on strategies to help families work, earn and save their way out of poverty, improve school readiness and promote resident leadership.  Peer matches are time and resource intensive, but have proven effective at generating new solutions to long-standing problems. 

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