What is the Carlton County Children & Family Service Collaborative?

The Carlton County Children & Family Service Collaborative (CCCFSC) was initiated in 1993. It is currently one of almost 90 Collaboratives in Minnesota.

Its purpose is to provide significant early intervention and prevention strategies for children, adolescents, and families, particularly those at risk for out-of-home placement such as foster homes, residential settings, correction facilities, or for out-of-school educational settings. The Collaborative work is toward integrating services throughout the County by avoiding duplication, fragmentation, and isolation.

The Collaboratives are supported through Federal money called Local Collaborative Time Study (LCTS), and the monies are administered through the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The structure of the Collaborative includes specific mandated partners for its governing board, although additional organizations, agencies, and individuals can be added as determined by the board. Each county collaborative can develop its own direction and focus, so within Minnesota, the varieties within and between the collaboratives are dramatic.

Collaboration is a wonderfully complicated and complex process that is best used for complex issues and for what is usually beyond one organization’s scope, ability, or influence. Consequently, the task of the Carlton County Children & Family Service Collaborative is to promote collaboration — organizations and individuals working together on complex and countywide issues as if they were one.

Cooperation, coordination, and collaboration are often thought of as the same process, but they have distinct differences. Cooperation is characterized by informal relationships that exist without any commonly defined mission, structure or planning effort. Coordination is characterized by more formal relationships and an understanding of compatible missions. Authority still rests with the individual organizations, but there is some increased risk to all participants. Collaboration is a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations to achieve common goals. The relationship includes a commitment to mutual relationships and goals; a jointly developed structure and shared responsibility; mutual authority and accountability for success; and sharing of resources and rewards.

Refer to Collaboration: What Makes It Work, 2nd Edition, The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation for additional information.