Leaders' Edge Advisor

Vol. 2, No. 2

Interagency Collaboration – Interagency Teams and Committees Part II

"It is not a question of how well each process works, the question is how well they all work together" Lloyd Dobens and Clare Crawford-Mason Thinking About Quality

Interagency Collaboration – Creating Community, Summer, 2004, No. 5, addressed the critical issue of interagency collaboration and teams, how to begin creating interagency teams and some tips for the leaders of those efforts. This second article, of a three- part series, will focus on the various teams and committees that communities have developed as part of their infrastructure to support the work of interagency administrative teams that act as the governance structure for their system of care.

Perhaps the most critical responsibility of local, county, state or tribal-level interagency teams in systems of care is the job of supporting the actualization of individualized care plans developed by individualized care teams. Unique plans of care are developed that meet the specific needs of a child and family, but in some cases usually because of a policy gap, funding issue or program need the plan of care cannot be actualized. Behind the individualized care plan and the team that developed the plan must be governance structures at the city, county, state or tribal level to solve the problem in the plan that prevents its implementation. It may require the bending of a rule, use of flexible funds to support a unique service that will meet the needs of that particular child or perhaps purchasing a service that doesn’t exist in any formal way in the community. Example:

A city administrative team in support of an individualized care team may suggest that an out of state placement in a residential treatment program is the only appropriate service for a youth, claiming that no service exists within the young person’s community. The state administrative team, upon receiving this plan of care request, may decide that an out of state placement is not in line with their state policy of caring for all their children in-state. The state team may thus release funds back to the community for an individualized program that supports the youth in the context of their home and community. Maybe they help purchase a crisis bed that supports the need of the child and is gender specific so to insure safety issues. Maybe they were able to use a Medicaid waiver slot that released funds to the community to support a range of services and supports not normally available to that community. The options are as varied as the resourcefulness of the teams.

As was just shown above, it is the likely possibility that a state-level team may be the only body that can approve the kind of system changes necessary to actualize an individualized plan of care. The reasons for needing the support of the state or tribal level team are varied and also the options for serving a young person are equally varied, but what is critical is that there is an administrative interagency team system and process in place to support the work of the individualized care teams at all levels of government.

Teams and Data

It is important for local/county/state/tribal interagency teams when reviewing individualized care plans to keep records of the types of:

  • policies that were missing or were antithetical to a community based system,
  • funding gaps that were identified and
  • services/supports that each plan needed, but could not be accessed locally.

By reviewing these plans over the course of a year, the administrative team can begin to see where actions are needed to rectify these situations for the future.

Interagency Committees

Aside from the crucial work of supporting individualized care plans, there are a number of committees that need to be developed to support the various parts of the system of care infrastructure. These committees typically report to the local/county/state/tribal-level administrative teams and add depth to the work of those teams. What follows are some committees that have been formed in different systems of care at the local/county/state or tribal levels.


Interagency Finance Committee

This interagency group looks at ways that the local/county/state/tribe is leveraging all appropriate state or local funds with available federal sources. This group can also be the initiator of Medicaid waiver applications, private foundation dollars and other federal grants to enhance their system of care.

Interagency Training Committee

This interagency committee sets out a yearly training calendar based on either new services being put in place in the next calendar year or training needs revealed by surveying the various service providers.

Interagency Program Review Committee

This group is usually comprised of program directors within each respective system of care agency. It looks at the data generated from the administrative teams and recommends solutions to solve service gaps. They also would screen potential vendors and make recommendations of the relevance and need of that particular service. This group may also sponsor needs assessments to gage what services exist and what services may be needed in the upcoming year. Finally, in some system of care communities this committee acts as a gate keeper for any recommendation for an out of community placement from an individualized care plan. Their job is to recommend an alternative to that recommendation to insure that all program options have been tried before an out of community placement is approved.

Interagency Management Information Systems Committee

This group is made up of data system directors of each agency. Critical to their mission is the task of finding ways to integrate their various unique data systems into one cross system information package for their system of care. By achieving this blended data arrangement they create a more efficient information system that is more likely to have information that takes into account a more holistic view of any child and family. Also, system outcomes can be created that take into consideration each agencies needs for accountability.

Social Marketing Committee

This committee assures that the public and key stakeholder groups are aware of the system of care and its various responsibilities and offerings. Advocate groups representing the target population of the system of care are critical members of this committee because they may be able to deliver messages and speak to various media outlets that government officials may not have access. Press conferences, press releases, and responding to news events are all vehicles for helping educate the public about the achievements and activities of your system of care.

System Architects

As you can see by the various levels of teams and committees, it takes good system architects to design an infrastructure that runs efficiently, supports the work of the individualized care teams and the children and families that the system is intended to serve. All across America today these system architects (visionaries) along with system engineers (implementers), families, administrators, providers and other stakeholder groups are building sustainable systems of care. Currently, at least seventeen states have actually codified in law some variation of the above local/county/state or tribal interagency team process.

The next and last of the three part series on interagency teams will address the work of the individualized care teams, their roles and responsibilities.

Center for Community Leadership · P.O. Box 3069, Burlington, VT 05408-3069
ph: 802-863-9132 fax: 802-863-6586 · info@centerforcommunityleadership.com

Copyright 2005 Gary De Carolis. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.

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