— Edited by NASCSP Staff —
Community Action Agencies (CAAs) across the nation are feeling the squeeze of increased need for services and too few resources. Add the threat of budget cuts and increased reporting expectations and you could have a recipe for cynicism and gloom. But promoting economic stability for low-income families is more than just a business, it’s a mission. First State Community Action of Delaware exemplifies Community Action’s response to economic challenges and the need for improved evidence-informed practice. Rather than wring their hands, the agency rolled up their sleeves and invested CSBG funds to meet these challenges and respond to the heightened focus on outcomes and performance. They developed a new CSBG Monitoring Protocol that includes a Workbook and Tools Manual to target CSBG funds where they’ll be most effective at meeting performance goals. By focusing on technical assistance, First State ensured the efficiency and effectiveness of their investment in all areas from staffing and program enrollment to case management and reporting.
The new CSBG Monitoring Protocol emphasizes quality of services to ensure resources are used effectively and makes a connection between program data, logic models, performance outcomes, and National Performance Indicators for outcome management purposes. Even the survey itself received a performance evaluation. Both the monitors and those monitored gave the tool and process high marks in a follow-up survey. Thanks to the monitoring protocol and tool, Delaware now has a process for monitoring that helps identify potential cost-savings in service delivery and leads to new strategies for program enhancement – all leading to a more organized and efficient system. Program participants will be the ultimate beneficiaries. Not a bad antidote to gloom and doom!
Source: FY2011 CSBG IS Survey