Collaboration Is Essential: It Takes A Village
I cannot recall the first time I heard the phrase ‘It Takes a Village.’ However, I do remember that is has been used to describe the collective whole which family, community and society has in connection to responsibility & impact. When you explore further for the origins of the “It takes a village to raise a child” you will find that it is an Igbo and Yoruba proverb which exists throughout the continent of Africa in many different African languages. The phrase reflects an emphasis of African cultures placing importance of roles for both family and community.
The challenge many people and/or systems have revolve around how to put this phrase into action. This difficulty becomes more pronounced at the ‘systems’ level, especially in serving those in most need. However, the solution does not have to be so complicated. It can actually be something that many of us are already familiar with and even using in our service delivery. Wraparound. Yes, wraparound and the tenets or values and principles of system care. It is through this approach we utilize a ‘team’ approach, specifically the child-family team.
Another important component to the systems of care is TCOM Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management. TCOM is an approach grounded in a philosophy of a single shared vision–helping individuals & families achieve their health and wellness goals as they navigate healthcare, child welfare, justice, behavioral health, education, and other complex systems.
Shared Vision Makes Collaboration Clearer
An organization’s mission statement can also be viewed as a ‘compass’ or what is necessary to accomplish the goal(s) of it’s work. Often, actually more often than not, organizational mission statements overlap. Let’s take Binti and Opeeka’s mission statement for a great example:
Binti’s mission-‘We believe every child deserves the care and support of a loving family’ and core values: Put the child first; Embrace the best idea; Break through walls; Create love through empathy; and Empower with empathy.
At Opeeka, our mission is to promote well-being for all. We enable success-focused care, brining care full circle, considering the individual as a complete human-being. The goal of success-focused care is to identify care that works for similar types of people, assist with communication between those in care & care providers.
It was during conversations that we discovered that our goals are quite similar, and our offerings are complimentary. Do I dare add another phrase? I think it would be helpful to add this last one (at least for now), “Don’t boil the ocean.” This is a phrase that many companies use around effectiveness, especially in solving a problem or meeting a challenge. I am going to respectfully disagree with this phrase. Let’s boil the ocean, solve the problems, meet the challenges head-on. This must be done if we all want to move forward as we enter in year three of the pandemic, want to achieve health-equity and have an impact on the social-determinants of health (SoDH).
Defining the Need: If You Can Name It You Can Tame It
I remember reading somewhere that every problem has a solution. As a family therapist I guess it was connected with Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), an evidence based practice developed by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg back in the late 1970s. However, it was a friend who works in the corporate world who told me that problems or challenges (yes, I had a to add the ‘or’ for more strength-based language) fall in two distinct categories: complicated and complex.
It was a real learning experience when I learned that complicated problems (challenges) are completely solvable, with the matching expertise and/or technical skills. If my memory is working well, I believe this is also called a mechanistic problem (challenge) like computer programming. The more ‘complex’ problems (challenges) require more thought and planning for positive outcomes. The complexity often is connected to larger interconnected systems, interpersonal dynamics, and other areas yet to be discovered.
So, let’s apply these two categorize in solving challenges (problems…yes, I included this word to make sure that I was consistent for those less strength-based) connected to complex needs of children, youth, adults, and families. However, let’s not take the approach of ‘boiling the ocean’ and failing, that would equate to trial-and-error which is something that ought never to be done in human-services. Instead, we can align with TCOM and developing a Transformational Care Plan-incorporating Wraparound.
The Work Of Helping All Those In Care: It CAN and MUST Be Done
There must be collaborations on all levels, from the family team level all the way towards the systems of care level. If we all want to achieve positive, sustainable outcomes it can only be done when we solve both complicated and complex challenges with innovative solutions.
Therefore, Binti and Opeeka would like everyone to Join Us-Binti & Opeeka on March 17th at 11am PT/2pm ET, for a 1-hour interactive webinar being offered by Fostering Media Connections (FMC)- “Better Tech, Better Outcomes: How Technology Collaboration Can Improve Foster Care”
This session will be hosted by John Kelly, Co-Executive Director of Fostering Media Connections & Founding Editor of The Imprint. The Imprint is FMC’s “daily news website covering the fields of child welfare, juvenile justice and other youth-related services. He has been reporting and editing coverage of youth services’ for over 20 years. FMC’s The Imprint passion has been all about strengthening collaboration among systems partners to ensuring the highest quality of care coordination for all!
Let’s all model for those we serve, ways to come together as a ‘team’, developing a ‘shared-vision’ where we can identify underlying needs, building/using strengths, and ensuring that all ‘voices’, especially those being served, are respected and incorporated into a ‘plan.’ The plan which must be created to solve both complicated and complex challenges connected to systems of care. The ultimate goal or outcome must adequately address both health equity and impact social determinants of health.
We can begin by not thinking we can ‘alone’ solve all of the challenges. This can be the first step we can celebrate, a shift from systems of care towards, ‘Systems That Care’ where we come together focusing on human-services. It can be difficult when you think you are alone without anyone. I cannot help to think of the poem ‘Alone’ by Maya Angelou, where she writes, “Alone, all alone Nobody, but nobody Can make it out here alone.” The take-away for me is that without another person, which can mean a family or partner, we cannot fully “make it” as we are social creatures requiring a nourishment of community to survive and hopefully be prosperous.