ERIC Number: ED401650
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Oct
Meeting Children's Needs through Systems Change: Will an Alternative Policy Instrument Work for Integrated Services?
The third generation of educational research and policy analysis gives consideration to the nature of the policy instrument and the design and organizational context through which reform ideas and policy goals are translated into results. This paper presents findings of a study that examined the use of systems change as a policy instrument. It describes a school-linked, integrated-services effort referred to as Community-Based Collaboration for Families (CBCF), a countywide initiative in a middle-class, metropolitan, midwestern county. The study examined the problem as defined by the framers of the CBCF, the organizational contexts of the participating agencies, the policy instrument of systems change, and the implementation and effects of the initiative after 3 years. The study was conducted from 1993-96 in two low-socioeconomic-status neighborhoods in a midsized midwestern city. Data were obtained through observation; document review; and interviews with over 300 residents, 12 CBCF team members, and 14 oversight committee members. Findings show that the mix of decentralized responsibility with centralized authority created a two-tiered system on top of an already entrenched hierarchy, and divided loyalties between agencies and team members. Consensus on what systems change means is not enough to accomplish systems change. Further, transferring authority does not guarantee change. Support mechanisms that ensure a linkage between policy goals and policy outcomes are needed. The integrated-systems approach today places more emphasis on efficient coordination than on meeting the needs of children and families. (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the University Council for Educational Administration (10th, Louisville, KY, October 25-27, 1996).