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Effective Multiagency Coordination

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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At any given moment, our nation’s social service agencies are caring for nearly 5 million children and youth. These kids show up in our schools while facing a host of challenges, including homelessness, foster care placement, incarceration, unmet mental and physical health needs, and other drivers of chronic instability. And many students are navigating several of these circumstances simultaneously. In addition to the immediate and obvious effects, traumatic life circumstances further destabilize students by fragmenting their education pathway. Lacking stability in school and a consistent education plan, students whose educations are significantly disrupted are more likely to achieve far below grade level, drop out of high school, be excluded from postsecondary and career training institutions, be unemployed or employed in insecure, low-skill, low-wage jobs, and enter (or return to) the criminal justice system.

As a mission-driven nonprofit, Bellwether combines its strategy and policy expertise to partner with public agencies at the state, county, and local level to improve both access to and quality of education programs for all young people who have experienced significant disruptions to their education pathways. As consultants, we support education agencies and their partners as they create plans to improve coherence within their systems, develop feasible financial plans to support care networks, and shift their organizational cultures toward greater integration. As policy analysts, we identify the statutory, administrative, and regulatory obstacles that inhibit the delivery of responsive services and rethink policy approaches that facilitate greater systems coordination.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:


July 14, 2020
Justin Trinidad, Hailly T.N. Korman
School choice was intended to expand options and equity, and it holds promise for many students with unique needs. But it is clear that no choice...
June 16, 2020
Lina Bankert, Jeff Schulz, Rochelle Dalton, Alison Fuller, Liz McNamee
Postsecondary education dramatically increases the likelihood of employment and economic success. But many young people, especially those furthest...
June 12, 2020
Hailly T.N. Korman, Michael Johnson, Max Marchitello
The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people, often by law enforcement, have added momentum...
May 11, 2020
Indira Dammu, Max Marchitello, Hailly T.N. Korman
This document will be updated regularly with new resources and materials. With schools closed due to COVID-19, online learning and instruction are...
March 10, 2020
Hailly T.N. Korman, Max Marchitello
Each year thousands of youth in America are uprooted from their schools and communities and sent to a juvenile justice detention center. The majority...

Blog Posts

March 3, 2015
Kelly Robson
A bill introduced in the Senate in late January proposes that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) use a definition of “...
December 1, 2014
Kelly Robson
One in every 30 children in the U.S. experienced homelessness in 2013. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education seems to have placed...