Innovation Circles: "Striving for Cultural Excellence"

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) has launched its fourth edition of Innovation Circles. This project brings together groups of colleagues to discuss issues of significance across the youth and family services field. The current Innovation Circles topic is "Striving for Cultural Excellence."

Do all youth and families feel welcome in your organization? How do they know your services are safe and geared toward their unique needs? Is difference valued or merely tolerated?  The need for organizations to review all services through a lens of cultural excellence and accountability is present and growing. The success of services for youth and families is limited when the target population of services does not trust or feel welcome and safe during engagement.

This project brings together "circles" of individuals with similar roles to discuss the topic and to contribute to a national review of what programs are or aren't doing to positively impact youth and families. Please review the following information to determine if participation in a future Innovation Circle project is right for you.

Who can be involved?
All staff members, consultants, volunteers, or board members of a youth and family service organization are invited to participate. Youth will be engaged in the project as well via a separate process. Space is limited and while preference is given to NSPN member organizations and licensed Safe Place agencies, those staff members of all organizations are invited to sign up using the link below.

I am new to the field, may I participate?
Absolutely. The project is strengthened by the views of those who have been doing the work for a long time as well as those who are new to their roles in the organization.

How are participants selected?
All interested individuals are asked to bookmark this page and check back in 2018 for opportunities to participate. NSPN staff members will build the circles with a goal toward diversity of participants, type of services represented, and geography.

What is involved in participation?
Participants are asked to volunteer their time and expertise via four - six teleconferences during an eight month period. Email exchanges and web-based file sharing will also be involved.

What are some of the benefits?
Participating individuals and organizations will be identified in all materials related to the reporting of the results of this project. Individuals will gain new professional contacts and develop additional expertise from the process of addressing the topic. Individuals will be actively engaged as change agents to positively impact the field.

What are the circles?
There are four circles of organizational representation.

  • Shift Change (direct care with youth, outreach, weekend staff, overnight coverage, after-school programming, recreational support, and volunteers)
  • Intentional Interventions (clinicians, counselors, mental health case managers, substance abuse specialists, and employment counselors)
  • Program Excellence (program directors, supervisors, evaluators, managers, marketing and communications personnel, trainers, and human resource personnel)
  • Lead Now (chief executive officers, executive directors, associate executives, and members of boards of directors)

What if I identify with more than one circle?
You are asked to identify which group that MOST reflects your day-to-day responsibilities or the focus you want to bring to this particular project. For example, you may have a clinical background and also serve as a director of programs. If you want to approach the topic from the mental health or human development angle, you would select Intentional Interventions. However, if you would rather focus on staff training, program development, and demonstrating outcomes, you would select Program Excellence. If you are interested and are uncertain of the best circle for you, please contact NSPN at [email protected].

Can more than one participant from the same organization participate?
As mentioned previously, geographic diversity will be considered. However, participants from the same organization may participate in different circles.

Please consider sharing your time and expertise with the Network and consider sharing this invitation with others. Together, we can!