History of collaborating for youth
Collaborating For Youth (CFY), was born out of a desire on the part of community residents and leaders to make community wide changes which would improve the lives and futures of youth in Adams County. A coalition was formed which included 20 to 30 members including schools, churches, government, not for profits, health care, parents and interested citizens. The group was interested in doing something big that would have an impact for years to come and that would set a foundation for creating a caring community that supported healthy youth development. Members reached out to other communities to see what was working.
In 2001 the group applied to be a Communities That Care site and was successful in being selected by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to be trained and supported on this journey. A key leader team was formed and trained as to best practices which were then implemented by the full group. The first community prevention plan was completed in 2002, and it has been updated on a regular basis since that time. This planning process is still used today to guide the implementation of new community programs and ensure the longevity and quality of those that are put into place. Over the years many programs have had their start through this collaborative planning process such as; Nurse Family Partnership, Functional Family Therapy, Multisystemic Family Therapy, Incredible Years, Strengthening Families Program and others.
Part of the planning process is to look at trends in what is happening to our youth in Adams County. This is accomplished through a youth survey (Pennsylvania Youth Survey) and through collecting and reviewing other types of archival records (Police, Health, Education, etc.). In addition CFY gets feedback through other surveys, focus groups and community conversations to inform the community prevention plan.
In 2003, indicators pointed to the need to address growing concerns about increasing substance abuse. CFY group looked to other communities to identify resources and best practices. In 2005 after a rigorous training academy, CFY became a federally designated Drug Free Communities Coalition. The designation was important as it brought with it technical assistance, continuous training and monetary resources. Since that time concentrated substance abuse prevention strategies have been a part of the Adams County prevention plan. Projects training youth to be prevention leaders (CFY Youth Coalition); implementing strategies to reduce underage drinking such as Parents Who Host Lose the Most, Sticker Shock and Positive Norms Campaigns; and implementing strategies to reduce prescription drug use (particularly opioids) including: educational programs; personal medication lock box program; permanent disposal boxes, and Medicine Take Backs.
In 2007, Collaborating For Youth developed a 501©3 The Center For Youth & Community Development (CFYCD). CFYCD is governed by an Executive Board made up of at least 2/3rds of Collaborating For Youth members. The Executive Director of the Center For Youth & Community Development is also the Community Mobilizer for Collaborating For Youth. This structure, established through bylaws, was created to allow Collaborating For Youth to focus on the work of the collaboration (the community vision and mission) while creating a structure for managing the day to day fiscal and personnel affairs. Over time CFYCD has taken on the role of being a service provider when the collaboration has agreed upon the need in order to further the goals of Collaborating For Youth.