- Southwest Key Program, San Antonio, TX
- The PEACE Initiative, San Antonio, TX
Please note that all data below was derived from the collaboration's nomination for the Collaboration Prize. None of the submitted data were independently verified for accuracy.
The American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions (AIT-SCM) has been serving young men and youth living in San Antonio since 2000. AIT-SCM has a long and successful track record in establishing collaborations. In 2003 AIT-SCM with the assistance of the Annie E. Casey Foundation established the San Antonio Fatherhood Campaign(SAFC). A collaboration that started as an idea and vision of a handful of concerned Latino and Native-American fathers and quickly developed into an organized city-wide community campaign to promote responsible fatherhood to fathers of all ages. The core group of partners involved include the following: Southwest Key Program, which is a recognized leader in the design and implementation of innovative, community-based youth justice programs. The PEACE Initiative (Putting an End to Abuse through Community Efforts) which is a coalition of institutions, grassroots organizations, and individuals working collaboratively to end family violence and the YWCA which provides healthy marriage education to youth and single adults living in the Westside of San Antonio. Other Core Partners include: Bexar County Adult Detention Center PATCH (Papas and Their Children) Program, National Compadres Network, San Antonio Fighting Back, City of San Antonio Project Worth, San Antonio Children’s Shelter and JOVEN. As a result of a federal grant opportunity in 2006 SAFC partners decided to apply for two separate grants under the Department of Health and Human Services. AIT-SCM, Southwest Key Program, and the PEACE Initiative joined together for a Responsible Fatherhood grant. For the second opportunity AIT-SCM partnered with the YWCA and the PEACE Initiative for the Healthy Marriages Grant under the Department of Health and Human Services. It was decided amongst the partners that the organization with the strongest infrastructure take the lead as the fiscal agency in order to compete for funds at a national level. Both efforts were awarded $500,000 per year for five years totaling $5,000,000. This supplemented the SAFC through the provisions of services that promoted the vision of responsible fatherhood and healthy relationships.
The Southwest Key Program serves as the fiscal agent and through its programs provides mentorship and leadership skills to juveniles and fathers in the incarcerated system who also are participants of the SAFC. AIT-SCM and the PEACE Initiative serve as subcontractors for services provided to the participants of the SAFC. Specifically, AIT-SCM provides parenting and education programs, disseminate information on responsible fatherhood, provide group and individual counseling and mentorship. The PEACE Initiative provides information on the causes and prevention of domestic violence and child abuse. Because AIT-SCM, PEACE Initiative and the Southwest Key Program were already established and had been working together since 2003, the project objectives were accelerated.
For the Healthy Relationships grant the YWCA serves as the fiscal agent and through its past history working with young women provides pre-marital education and skills to the young women associated with the participants of the SAFC. The PEACE Initiative also continues to provide domestic violence awareness to both groups of men and women for the Healthy Relationships grant.
The challenges that SAFC needed to overcome were initially long established barriers regarding collaborative work by nonprofit organizations. AIT-SCM first called a meeting of prospective members; the first item on the agenda was to publicly acknowledge the great work the organizations had already accomplished. Second, was to assure the organizations that no one wanted to take away what they had already accomplished, nor replicate the services they were providing but to bring all the services and resources to the table in order to reach more men by promoting a collective vision. AIT-SCM’s leadership role has always been about modeling and encouraging leaders to know when to step back and let others take the lead. Thereby creating a culture where leaders build leaders.
Prior to the expansion of our funding opportunities the SAFC was providing direct services to 600 males and provided outreach services to 1,400 men. As a result of the expansion of collaboration SAFC and its partners serve 2,060 men directly and reach out to over 4,000 men indirectly through community events and workshops. According to evaluations conducted for the federal grant reporting requirements the targeted outcomes included that 94% of participants have been observed in their progression with positive interaction with children and 93% demonstrate and report positive interaction with their families and 95% demonstrated progress in parenting knowledge and skills. 97% of those served improved in the areas of communication skills, conflict resolution skills, abuse prevention skills and budgeting and finance skills. The University Of Texas Health Science Center- School Of Public Health held focus groups with both partners and clients of the SAFC. SAFC clients reported high levels of satisfaction with the services they received and strong feelings regarding the importance of the SAFC. Through the collaborative relationship with the SAFC the Core Partners reported that they are better able to serve difficult-to-reach and often neglected populations such as juvenile offenders and the incarcerated. The SAFC has been used as a foundation for the development of fatherhood programs at other agencies and provides referral and training information to its Core Partners. But perhaps one of the most significant impacts of AIT-SCM’s collaboration efforts has accomplished is in the area of bringing funding to San Antonio. These combined grants brought $5,000,000 for services, programs, and referrals making a tremendous impact in our community. In the future we will be combining all of our efforts to establish a statewide initiative called the Texas Responsible Fatherhood and Health Initiative.
The San Antonio Fatherhood Campaign model is based on an indigenous concept of development referred to as a “Circle of Life”. This circle of life is comprised of four distinct areas of development:
1) Acknowledgment - of values and principles being the welcoming stage. 2) Understanding - of everything we have acknowledged. 3) Integration - of all visions and understandings. 4) Movement - that is designed to include the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of each as a basis for direction. The essence of our Circle of Life model revolves around our ability to build and retain relationships and understanding the value that each organization brings through its past, present, and future work. The starting point is the recognition of each partner’s contributions to the challenges and a clear definition of the role and responsibility of each partner to help eliminate duplication of services, increase service delivery and maximize resources.
The Collaboration wanted to address: 1) Filling in the gaps in services; 2) Creating linkages among the partners and the broader community and 3) Reforming existing systems by making them more male friendly. Agency capacity issues were initially identified as the primary barriers or threats to the sustainability of the San Antonio Fatherhood Campaign (SAFC). The Collaboration identified a need for the SAFC to expand its “grant-sharing” and to seek additional funding partners as well as agencies to enhance SAFC services at a reduced cost realizing that this would require additional staff. The Collaboration has allowed the maximization of resources in providing services and programs to our communities. Cost savings have been realized in the areas of human resources, shared use of facilities, and diminished competitiveness which resulted in increased efficiencies and effectiveness in terms of mission and program delivery. Through contractual agreements agencies are able to benefit from the SAFC and promote responsible fatherhood. Additionally, shared human resources included the PEACE Initiative providing services to the Juvenile Probation Department and the SAFC providing workshops for youth on probation. The Collaboration has increased program delivery by continuously developing the comprehensive care model of providing support to dads at any and all levels of their parenting journey. Additional economic and operating efficiencies are achieved through the SAFC clearinghouse process. Once a father contacts the SAFC, he is immediately provided an in-depth plan of action that measures his familial, social and economic needs. A number of methodologies are incorporated to track changes and outcomes. Funding for the Collaboration’s programs comes from a number of sources and each of these funders requires tracking and measurement. The University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health (UTHSC-SPH) partnered with the American Indians in Texas (AIT), to conduct an evaluation of the SAFC as part of the Health Program Planning, Implementation and Evaluation course in the spring 2010. The UTHSC-SPH Evaluation Team was comprised of two doctoral and two masters level students in public health. A focus group of partners and clients was convened as part of this evaluation. Among the methodologies used to track changes was the Program Effectiveness and Assessment Checklist (PEAC)TM. The Evaluation Team developed a logic model outlining all existing SAFC programs. This assessment captured information regarding: Administrative and Financial Records, Operations Management, Performance Management and Marketing Management. This program logic model was designed using the W.K. Kellogg Logic Model Development Guide. SAFC’s logic model captures information regarding Target Population, Underlying Assumptions, Inputs, Activities, Outputs, Outcomes and Indicators. The Collaboration successes have solidified and have strengthened its visibility to the community. As a result of solid proposals, efficiency and measurable progress, the partners have been successful in attaining funding from a variety of sources. These include: 1) In 2006, partners received two $500,000 five-year grants from the Department of Health and Human Services for the Responsible Fatherhood program and Healthy Marriages; 2) In 2007, the Collaboration enabled the University Health System (UHS) to apply for a $500,000 five-year federal grant to expand health services to males to establish male health clinics. AIT receives $33,000 a year from this grant to provide a full time male health worker thereby saving SAFC funds. As a result, services were expanded to parts of the city that were not originally targeted by SAFC. What began as an outreach to Native American and Mexican American males in the West and South sides of the City has now extended to the East side, which is predominately African American. The expansion achieved through collaboration with UHS proposed to serve 500 males, but actually reached 700 males; 3)In 2008, SAFC’s collaboration with UTHSC School of Nursing provided $50,000 to expand our services to the South side of San Antonio through the Familias En Acciόn project; 4)In 2009, another partner San Antonio Fighting Back, a predominately African American organization based on the East side provided a $10,000 grant to work with males in four schools. 5)In 2010, as part of collaboration with the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) - Making Connections Initiative, AIT secured funding to produce the SAFC model to be included as part of AECF’s on-line Fatherhood Tool Kit. These tools will be made available across the entire USA. SAFC has developed and implemented several intake forms that collect statistical data. At the completion of service, an intake form is used to measure individual progress through the programs and services. AIT provides its SAFC partners training on curriculums and the philosophy of values that the partners can integrate into their service delivery. This training consists of three days, expanding on the philosophy of methodologies used which have a value of $5,000. Quantitative benefits can be measured in several ways which include the impact on individuals, expanded involvement of partners, and improvement to the broader community. The impact of the SAFC on individual fathers is well documented. For example, in 2009, there were 213 fathers who accessed programmatic services. Of these 213 dads, the following changes were documented: 90% of non custodial fathers seeking family support and visitation mediation had their monthly visits increased over 80%; 85% of fathers seeking parent strengthening/skills support for family reunification efforts completed 100% of a collaborative plan to reunify a parent-child relationship; 85% of fathers seeking child support assistance were successfully enrolled in a child support compliance workshop which resulted in 100% compliance in setting an order to establish financial support for their children. Another area of measurable success is the growing impact of the Collaboration itself. The original collaboration of seven organizations has grown to include 30 organizations, and now includes governmental entities such as the University Health System, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and three school districts. The SAFC focus is on fatherhood issues but through collaborative partnerships it is able to expand on its services to the community. By addressing unmet needs among men in the community, the Collaboration believes that SAFC has seen success toward its goals and objectives. The activities of the SAFC impact the mission of the collaborating agencies by providing clients with additional parenting resources and ultimately keeping families together.
Challenges that SAFC needed to overcome were initially long established barriers regarding collaborative work by nonprofit organizations. To overcome this, AIT first called a meeting of prospective members. The first item on the agenda was to publicly acknowledge the great work the organizations had already accomplished. Second, was to assure the organizations that no one wanted to take away what they had already accomplished, nor replicate the services they were providing but to bring all the services and resources to the table in order to reach more men by promoting a collective vision. For AIT, one of the additional challenges was that males do not traditionally seek out help for themselves or their children. Agencies were not originally set up to help fathers looking for support since many of these agencies had been established to help families or more tailored to work with moms rather than dads. Because AIT, PEACE Initiative, YWCA and the Southwest Key Program were already established and had been working together since 2003, the project objectives were accelerated. The Collaboration helped the partners remove obstacles in providing community resources such as going from simple information service provider on encouragement and empowerment support to providing classes. The SAFC Collaboration has strategically built a network of partners and community support through joint initiatives, strong neighborhood outreach, and media visibility. This work has resulted in systemic change. The Collaboration has moved from independent agencies assisting a limited number of dads, to becoming a strong network of organizations pooling their resources, developing new strategies for outreach, and enhancing service delivery. Through SAFC, agencies have learned to function as a consortium for specific and strategically identified activities, while maintaining their agency autonomy and responsibility in service delivery. As our level of sophistication in working together continues to increase, we see exponential results in successful service delivery, but we know the skills and knowledge needed are only as important as the needs that motivate change. Through our efforts to help fathers understand this message, the Collaboration evolved to building a support network around areas where fathers would be motivated. Through these new efforts, parents began to seek out parent strengthening and skill building opportunities in addition to the immediate social, familial and economic needs and concerns. One of the fatherhood successes is measured through collaborations that are willing to embrace the “father-friendly” ideology that it truly does take a village to raise a child. Through the collaborative relationship, the partners are better able to serve difficult-to-reach and often neglected populations such as juvenile offenders and the incarcerated. Juveniles who are at-risk for incarceration are among the targeted population served by the SAFC. The SAFC has been used as a foundation for the development of fatherhood programs at other agencies and provides referral and training information to its partners. Men who participate in the programs provided by the SAFC discuss their experiences with other men and continue to spread the word, raising awareness about fatherhood issues in the community. Broader social issues such as drugs, violence, and family safety are addressed through improved family relationships and increased awareness of the importance of fatherhood. According to evaluations of the targeted outcomes conducted for the federal grant reporting include the following: 94% of participants have been observed in their progression with positive interaction with children; 93% demonstrated and reported positive interaction with their families; 95% demonstrated progress in parenting knowledge and skills; and 97% of those served improved in the areas of communication, conflict resolution, abuse prevention, budgeting and finance skills. But perhaps one of the most significant impacts of the Collaboration’s efforts is the accomplishments of bringing funding to San Antonio. These combined grants to date have brought in $6,606,000 over a five-year period, having a tremendous impact on our community in services, programs, and referrals. We firmly believe that the SAFC Collaboration should win the Collaboration Prize because of the following reasons: 1) It will serve as a model to other nonprofit organizations to consider forming collaborations in order to approach their scope of services in a more holistic/comprehensive manner, thereby maximizing limited funding and avoiding duplication of services. 2) Publicizing the award will enable SAFC to create awareness of the Collaboration’s success at the local, state and federal level. 3) The Prize will further recognize efforts to reduce the national statistics indicating the devastating results in the lives of children who live absent of their biological father. These efforts are crucial to the health and success of a child’s life. Impacts such as; 90% of all homeless and run away children are from fatherless homes; 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes; 85% of all youth sitting in prison grew up in a fatherless home; and 71% of teenage pregnancies are to children of a single parent. (Source: National Fatherhood Initiative, Father Facts, 5th Edition, 2007:27). 4) Recognition of the Collaboration will be used to leverage additional funds to expand the Collaboration partnerships by adding state partners such as the Office of the Attorney General- Child Support Division and the Department of Health and Human Services. SAFC is proposing the establishment of a statewide Texas Fatherhood and Family Initiative that will be presented to the next Texas State Legislature. These state partners will enhance the current collaboration of local nonprofit organizations, City of San Antonio Departments and Bexar County entities. 5) The Collaboration Prize would allow for greater expansion of the programming efforts which would result in greater impact that would lead to greater visibility, awareness, effectiveness, legitimacy, integrity, favorable associations, and greater brand value that would open doors to greater funding for this very important collaborative effort.