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Program Design & Management

When engaging in program design and management, the outcomes and experience of program participants is our primary focus. We bring in our wide variety of expertise to work with clients to design programs that are truly client-driven and focused on removing barriers to care. We have a deep understanding of the systems programs are operating in and use that knowledge to design programs that are well-suited to achieve their targeted outcomes. We work with our clients to identify potential funding sources that align with the program design and are able to support developing a request for funds from those sources. In terms of program management, our team is skilled at developing and managing work plans, convening project teams, and developing communication pieces that illustrate program progress.

Some examples of our work in program design and management include:

  • Working with a nonprofit organization to capture and document the core components of a program and develop materials to guide program management, such as policy and procedure manuals, guidance documents, and protocols.

  • Writing grants to support an organization interested in funding and/or scaling up a program or developing a grant proposal that clearly articulates the program’s design and intended outcomes.

  • Collaborating with a city agency to manage a large-scale, long-term federal grant project.

Connected to Community

Project Example: 
Connected to Community

Connected to Community (CTC) is an initiative that prepares Public Advocates in Community Re-entry (PACE) Peer Coaches to provide pre- and post-release services to help facilitate the successful reentry of people returning from incarceration in the Marion County Adult Detention Center (ADC) who have been:

  • identified as homeless or at risk of homelessness,

  • booked into the ADC 4 or more times in the previous 12 months,

  • or assessed to be “high risk” or “very high risk” of recidivating by the Indiana Risk Assessment System (IRAS).

CTC is supported by a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Second Chance Act. Its overall goal is to help facilitate successful reentry of people returning from incarceration in the ADC.

Community Solutions was engaged in October 2021 to design and manage CTC in collaboration with PACE. PACE Peer Coaches draw on their own lived experience with the criminal legal system along with their training in evidence-based practices to inform the connections they build and support they offer to program participants. As Peer Coaches help participants navigate community systems and build connections to resources, they foster a culture of care that is often missing for the participants.

As one CTC staff member said, “Having someone who’s been there, understands the system of the jail and navigating the justice system is so important.”

Harnessing the existing wisdom and lived experience of people in our community to address challenges of those likely to have some of the greatest needs and interactions with inequitable systems is at the core of Community Solutions’ Theory of Change.

Community Solutions’ responsibilities on this project include:

  • building and maintaining partnerships with various agencies

  • mapping out processes

  • developing policies and procedures

  • tracking and monitoring data for performance management

  • completing grant reporting requirements

  • and coordinating evaluations conducted by a third-party researcher.

Throughout the life of this project, various challenges required project elements to be re-designed. For example, the opening of a new county jail resulted in changes within the ADC that limited the contact Peer Coaches could have with participants pre-release, and changes in another agency resulted in significantly fewer referrals than expected. Community Solutions leveraged existing relationships to discover and partner with an agency that could provide ample referrals in a location where Peer Coaches would have sufficient contact with participants pre-release and submitted documents to the grantor to establish this structural change to the project. Community Solutions continuously collects input from Peer Coaches based on their experiences to build in new processes to enhance the peer-to-peer connection.

In an interim progress report completed by a third-party researcher, “PACE staff noted that having [Community Solutions] as a project manager was vital to the success of the program. PACE staff said [Community Solutions] alleviated administrative burdens and built out data management plans and manuals to help PACE staff do their jobs more efficiently and accurately. This helped PACE staff focus on providing services to individuals in the community, which is often where their passions and strengths lie."

As the program progresses, it will measure the 6- and 12-month recidivism rates as well as improvement in well-being in a number of quality-of-life areas. CTC reports to the MCRC Services Workgroup, which serves as the Steering Committee for this program. CTC will continue until September 2025, when the current grant ends.

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