The Strategic Planning Alliance for Children and Youth – Durham Region (S.P.A.) had a history of working together to improve planning and coordination of services for children, youth, and families. At the end of 2012, members of the S.P.A. Leadership Council had identified that the goals of S.P.A. were not being achieved and it was determined that entering a Strategic Planning Process would be beneficial.
In the spring of 2013, the S.P.A. Leadership Council acquired the services of Theresa Dostaler, Synergy Research and Evaluation Consulting to facilitate three planning sessions with the end goal of developing a workplan and recommendations for improving planning and service coordination in the Durham Region. Members of the S.P.A. Leadership Council representing 15 cross-sectoral community organizations participated in these sessions. Joining these members were the co-chairs of Durham’s Best Start Network.
Through the summer of 2013, working groups met to address the first steps in the transformation of S.P.A. – a new Vision, Mission, Commitments, and structure. In November 2013 the Durham’s Children and Youth Planning Network was launched at a community meeting.
Durham's Children and Youth Planning Network (DCYPN) is an integrated, coordinated, and collaborative system of organizations that provides services to enhance and support the well-being of children, youth and families. DCYPN, formerly called the Strategic Planning Alliance, is a coalition of service providers in Durham Region working collaboratively to deliver innovative and seamless support services responsive to the needs of children, youth and families in our community.
In October 2013, Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth - Durham Region, as lead agency, was notified of the successful outcome of the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) application submitted in the summer of 2013 by the DCYPN Transition Committee. The three year OTF grant allowed the DCYPN to hire a Project Coordinator to work with the Transition Committee and the community. The OTF grant also assisted with funding expenses to suppor the implementation of an inclusive and collaborative community planning structure.
To achieve the outcomes for the OTF grant, DCYPN committed to:
- creating and approving a new community planning structure. This structure included an enhanced and expanded network of intermediary organizations that affect change on issues identified by communities within the Durham Region that promote the well-being of children, youth and families.
- creating and implementing a communication strategy including launching a new website.
- compiling a comprehensive list of community activities and resources.
- examining available data, collecting additional data, and utilizing this information to inform community priorities.
Outcomes of the OTF grant included:
The Communication Action Group launched a quarterly DCYPN newsletter, launched a website and started a Twitter feed.
The Analysis Action Group completed the first community snapshot of children and youth. The Analysis Action Group researched and identified a framework from British Columbia. A total of 31 indicators were selected that were of importance and had data sources for Durham Region. In August 2016 the first point-in-time snapshot was presented as the Child and Youth Well-Being Report.
As part of the role of the Governance Action Group, strategic planning took place in the fall of 2016 with the assistance of a consultant and the current members of DCYPN. The strategic plan was reviewed and accepted by members in early 2017 and will start to be implemented in 2017.