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February 2019: Reach Youth with the Right Partners

By collaborating with organizations in other sectors, your organization can extend its services beyond typical activities, find creative ways to achieve program goals, and better prepare staff to address problems that might fall outside the scope of your program. Community partnerships can help build more effective systems of care, expand access to programs for adolescents who may be hard to reach (such as runaway and homeless youth), and improve program sustainability.

How Do I Build Effective Partnerships?

Five factors can help you establish effective partnerships.

  1. Be aware of your organization's strengths, weaknesses, and needs. This will help ensure your partners can address gaps in services and consider how another organization can complement your program’s strengths. For example, Right from the Start establishes many partnerships to help meet the housing, vocational, educational, and medical needs of young parents and their children.
  2. Aim for continuous improvement. After you assess the strengths and challenges of potential partnerships, define benchmarks for success and regularly revisit written agreements.
  3. Agree on a shared vision and commit to sustainability. State clear goals and objectives upfront, and make sure your partners are committed to sharing the responsibility of meeting them. Partners in the New Orleans Trauma-Informed School Learning Initiative, for example, committed to building capacity to effectively address trauma in their respective fields.
  4. Highlight program successes from partnerships. Social media campaigns and other communications strategies can teach the public about your work and earn their trust. Use messages that support your goals to build trust with the communities you want to serve.
  5. Learn from your partners. Consider partnerships with organizations that can deepen your skill set and knowledge base. For instance, the Minnesota Department of Health formed relationships with several state agencies to train staff in adolescent brain development and trauma-informed care.

Learn More about How Partnerships Support Young Parents

OAH has released new videos that highlight the work of Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF) Program grantees in Minnesota and Missouri. These videos share how partnerships among community organizations have helped student parents stay enrolled in school and gain the skills they need to support their children. For an overview of the work of PAF Program grantees, watch the montage video.

Spread the Word with These Posts

Funded by the Office of Adolescent Health, Right from the Start partners with homeless shelters to expand its ability to reach and support vulnerable young parents with the evidence-based Parents as Teachers model. https://youtu.be/E7aBMQ-hoaQ

With funding from @TeenHealthGov, @mnhealth partners with #HigherED institutions to increase their capacity to serve student parents, encourage re-enrollment for classes, and improve health outcomes for parents and their children. https://youtu.be/hEokvPv2wm0


Content created by Office of Adolescent Health
Content last reviewed on February 28, 2019