Cornerstone Assistance Network: A Faith Based Intermediary ... SITE VISIT TO CORNERSTONE ASSISTANCE

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Transcript of Cornerstone Assistance Network: A Faith Based Intermediary ... SITE VISIT TO CORNERSTONE ASSISTANCE

  • SITE VISIT

    TO

    CORNERSTONE ASSISTANCE NETWORK:

    A FAITH-BASED INTERMEDIARY ORGANIZATION

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma January 31-February 1, 2002

    Prepared by:

    Blake Austensen Deputy Project Director Welfare Peer Technical Assistance Network AFYA, Inc. Takoma Park, Maryland &

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    Doug Poag Executive Director Partners for Community Bloomington, Illinois

    Welfare Peer Technical Assistance Network 2

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    1. Overview .................................................................................................................... 3

    2. Background................................................................................................................ 3

    3. Site Visit Summary.................................................................................................... 6

    4. Final Remarks ........................................................................................................... 15

    References ....................................................................................................................... 17

    Welfare Peer Technical Assistance Network 3

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    SITE VISIT SUMMARY

    Event: Site Visit to Cornerstone Assistance Network: A Faith-Based Intermediary Organization

    Date: January 31 - February 1, 2002

    Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    1. OVERVIEW

    The Welfare Peer Technical Assistance (TA) Network, funded by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Family Assistance (OFA), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provided assistance in support of this site visit in response to a combined request for technical assistance to expand their knowledge of intermediary organizations from Partners for Community (PfC), in Bloomington, Illinois, and the Illinois Department of Human Services (ILDHS). Partners for Community felt the visit would further their mission and increase their capacity as an intermediary organization. The State felt the visit would increase its capacity to work with PfC as well as other intermediary organizations throughout the State. Staff from PfC along with its area Illinois State faith-based liaison visited a model intermediary program in Oklahoma (the Cornerstone Assistance Network-referred to as CAN) that does an excellent job of facilitating and fostering community and faith partnerships through education and interaction.

    What is An Intermediary Organization?

    Simply, it is an organization that provides assistance to faith congregations that are interested in providing social services. It is NOT a government agency. The Intermediary is familiar with the faith community, the programs of government social service agencies, and with successful faith-based programs that serve as best practices. The Intermediary serves both the local congregation and the traditional social service provider for the purpose of helping them work together to reach the poor and needy.

    (Source: Cornerstone Network News, Vol. 5, Issue 2, Summer 2001. For more information, visit the Oklahoma State Office of Faith-Based Services Web site link at www.state.ok.us/~faithlinks/intermed.html.)

    2. BACKGROUND

    Welfare Peer Technical Assistance Network 4

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    The following section provides insights into the events that led to this site visit among the various participants involved. It also provides additional background into the programs that were represented at the site visit.

    2A. Chain of Events

    At the Look at Faith-Based Programs workshop in October 2001 in Indianapolis, Indiana, sponsored by the Welfare Peer Technical Assistance Network, PfC staff members heard Brad Yarborough, Director, Oklahoma Office of State Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Liaison, deliver a presentation entitled Making New Relationships Happen: The Oklahoma Story. They were very excited about his description of organizations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa that were contracting with the State of Oklahoma to provide Intermediary services services with the specific goal of bringing more people into partnership with agencies; to use the historic opportunity of welfare reform to bring churches together and back into societys effort to address and overcome chronic, intractable poverty.

    PfC also met Rev. Derrius Colvin, Public Service Administrator for the Illinois Department of Human Services, at the workshop in Indianapolis. Rev. Colvin acts as a coordinator for the Illinois Partners for Hope program in the Chicago area. He suggested PfC contact his counterpart in downstate Illinois, Pastor Fred Nettles. PfC traveled to Springfield in November 2001 to meet with Pastor Nettles, and they decided to approach the Welfare Peer Technical Assistance Network about seeking further technical assistance on intermediary organizations. Their focus was on Oklahomas model.

    2B. Illinois Partners for Hope Program

    The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Partners for Hope program was established in May 1998. The purpose of the effort was for Departments Division of Community Operations, to link with faith-based communities to develop services through their ministries for families moving from welfare to work. In effect, the program is a network of faith-based partners working with IDHS local field offices throughout the State to support families in their communities who are trying to achieve self-sufficiency by creating local wrap-around ministries. Each ministry is tailored to meet the unique needs of families living in that community. Some ministries have programs that help families in the following areas: job search, job readiness, job-skills training; community service positions; GED program; nutrition and food-budgeting advice; second-chance or maternity home for expectant un-married minors who cannot live with their parents; abstinence education; drug treatment services; and medical assistance.

    The program has developed a newsletter to keep Partners for Hope faith communities abreast of welfare reform changes, IDHS services and programs, policy changes created by federal and state legislation, and inform them of possible Federal and State funding opportunities. The State also offers grant writing workshops to faith-based organizations, maintains a database of faith-

    Welfare Peer Technical Assistance Network 5

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    based service providers that facilitates and speeds up service delivery to needy clients, and has established a statewide network of wrap-around ministries through its local offices in collaboration with their local faith-based communities to help support families attain their goals for self-sufficiency. Some examples of these efforts include a senior outreach pilot program, several mentoring programs, a summer youth program, and a job club.

    Illinois Front Door Program is another area where faith-based organizations around the State have partnered with IDHS to provide services to potential TANF applicants who have obtained employment prior to approval of their applications who need assistance with employment expenses to keep their jobs and avoid entering the TANF rolls. This is usually a one-time benefit and applicants are tracked to avoid misuse of funds. Some examples of those expenses are car repairs, car insurance, bus passes, clothing, or initial child care.

    2C. Partners for Community (Bloomington, Illinois)

    Partners for Communitys (PfC) program is a non-denominational Christian organization that brings business, government, police, and social service together. It is best described as an intermediary organization that specializes in facilitating the start-up and organization of community resources toward a needed community program or service. Its mission, as a faith-based organization, is to prevent violence, support families, and promote peaceful homes, by facilitating and fostering community partnerships through education and interaction. Membership is made up of churches, public agencies, and businesses in Bloomington, and surrounding McLean County, Illinois. Local churches, community groups, and even some individuals have so far been very generous donators to PfCs cause.

    PfC is known in the community and region for its effective work in facilitating its member churches engagement in collaborative efforts to promote peace and justice in the homes of the community. Member churches know that PfC is an organization that can link their local ministries with the needs of the community. PfC is also known for its success in working proactively with legislators to promote legislation that supports its mission. Its member churches are recognized for their local ministries and faith-based social programs. Some are also receiving national attention from their denominations or associations for both their programs as well as for working collaboratively with other churches while maintaining their individual church identity.

    To date, PfC has been involved in the start-up of six ongoing programs or ministries where they played a significant role as initiator or facilitator. Its effective leadership led to the opening of the McLean County Family Violence Center. This center is the first such center in the State of Illinois and has led to significant reductions in incidents of domestic violence in the County