Every five years AOK Networks enter a new program cycle. At the beginning of the cycle, AOK Networks go through a community planning process to determine and develop their initiatives for the next five years. While all AOK Networks will develop the same three types of initiatives, their initiatives and plans will result from their local community planning process. Plans are created for the following three types of initiatives. They are updated annually.
Network Capacity Initiative: Network capacity refers to the Network partners’ knowledge, skills, and ability to work together and improve the service delivery system. It also refers to formalizing and strengthening the collaborative’s structure and processes. AOK Networks focus on four core areas to build their network capacity: Shared Agenda, Collaborative Leadership and Engagement, Continuous Learning and Adaptive Action, and Network Governance. Network capacity initiatives are informed by assessments such as the Wilder Survey and the Illinois CSD Benchmark tool. Sometimes Network Initiatives include strategies related to one or both of their other initiatives.
Child and Family Outcome Initiative: Through a community assessment process using the AOK Networks Developmental Pathway, each community prioritizes a set of related child and family outcomes which become the targeted problem of this initiative. Then through a system assessment and root cause analysis, AOK Networks seek to understand how the system could be improved to better support children and families to reach these outcomes. Together AOK Network partners address barriers too big to address individually, seek to permanently improve the system, and provide benefit to more children and families.
System Building Initiative: Each five-year cycle, all AOK Networks work on one of the system building components. Currently, AOK Networks are focused on information and referral (I&R). Following a structured process, AOK Networks engage stakeholders in building a more connected and coordinated system to connect families to the appropriate services. Together community providers systematically learn about the current I&R practices in their community. They also promote referral practices using a web-based application that supports warm handoffs for families and closes the communication loop for referring organizations. Additionally, they provide a clear data driven picture of partner capacity to continually improve the process over time, and track outcomes.