Connect Kansas - Supporting Communities That Care is about:
- Strengthening communities as places where children and youth are safe, connected to others, and supported by concerned, involved, and responsible adults
- Ensuring the hopes and dreams that we have for our children will come true
- Preventing problems before young people become statistics
- Developing thoughtful public policy and investing resources in ways that achieve meaningful results
- Supporting active, sustained citizen participation, community-wide ownership of issues, and local action tailored to local needs
Characteristics of caring, healthy communities have been identified - outcomes that are the foundation for Connect Kansas. These outcomes are the journey of life:
- Families, Youth, and Citizens are Part of Their Community`s Planning, Decision-Making and Evaluation
- Families and Individuals Will Live in a Safe and Supportive Community
- Pregnant Women and Newborns Thrive
- Infants and Children Thrive
- Children Live in Stable and Supported Families
- Children Enter School Ready to Learn
- Children Succeed in School
- Youth Choose Healthy Behaviors
- Youth Successfully Transition to Adulthood
- Adults are Healthy, Self-sufficient, and Contributing Members of their Communities
- Seniors are Healthy, Independent, and Appreciated Members of their Communities
1. Building on a solid foundation of research and evaluation
Just as medical researchers have found risk and protective factors for heart disease and other health issues, research has identified factors that are placing children, families, and communities at risk for interrelated problems. This research also has identified approaches that build protection and developmental assets in children. Connect Kansas builds on this knowledge by:
- Identifying best practices, programs, and strategies and rigorously evaluating promising approaches
- Bringing researchers, program planners, and practitioners together through Prevention Leadership Forums to continue fine tuning the most effective science-based strategies and best practices
- Supporting applied research studies to learn more about what works in prevention
Connect Kansas is assisting communities in protecting children and achieving results.
- Kansas Data and Planning Guides, organized around caring community outcomes, will be available for all 105 Kansas counties. This information, designed to assist communities in addressing issues that matter to them, will be updated annually. The data will be available on-line.
- The Community Resource Assessment Guide will assist communities in identifying federal, state, and local resources that are available to address the nine caring community outcomes.
- The electronic Community Documentation System is supporting more than 100 communities in tracking progress in implementing local action plans. This service will be available to all participating Connect Kansas communities.
- Connect Kansas training and technical assistance is being developed for communities around core competencies: leadership, community assessment, outcome-based planning, community action and advocacy, community evaluation, social marketing, and leveraging resources. A more intensive Connect Kansas Community Team Training is being developed.
- Technology such as the Building Healthy Communities Distance Learning Workshops and the Community Tool Box through the University of Kansas Health Promotion and Community Development is available to communities at no cost.
- Learning Communities and social marketing campaigns are providing state-of-the-art information and opportunities for networking among national and state decision-makers, program planners, and concerned citizens.
- The Community Leadership Corps is supporting internships for undergraduate students to serve in community coalitions and partnerships and learn more about the application of prevention technology