The Children, Youth and Families Initiative
A Mid-Course Report
The Chicago Community Trust's Children, Youth, and Families Initiative was launched in 1991 with two overarching purposes: as a grant-making program, to improve social services and strengthen communities in support of children, youth, and families; and as an exploratory project, to see whether a set of ideas developed in research conducted by Chapin Hall and supported by the Chicago Community Trust would not only improve services and strengthen communities, but also help communities to plan the foundation for a more responsive and coordinated system of child and family services. In the forefront of attempts to explore the creation of comprehensive, integrated social service systems, the initiative was an early leader on several key aspects of such endeavors, such as enhancing primary social services, focusing on the many relationships involved in system reform, recognizing such reform as a long-term effort in need of long-term support, and establishing multiple sites to foster the synergy and cross-site learning that make collaboration successful.
This mid-course report is a summary of the Initiative as it entered its seventh year. It focuses on the present, looks back to see how the Initiative arrived at its current stage of development, and looks forward to suggest possibilities for a future course.