Level 2: Partnerships

Level Two integration involves engaging community members and other stakeholders through partnerships. Developing partnerships with other agencies in the community is a great way to pool resources and expertise for the benefit of families.

The Resource Center has created easy to use integration strategies to help agencies that are interested in incorporating healthy marriage and relationship education into existing service delivery systems. No matter the resources that are available, we are here to help because integrating healthy marriage and relationship education into safety-net services will strengthen families and communities.

Level Two Integration involves identifying and developing partnerships with community agencies that can teach healthy relationship skills to participants. Partnerships that are properly planned and developed maximize resources and minimize service gaps to help couples and families have safe, healthy relationships and move toward achieving self-sufficiency.

Consider creating new or expanding existing partnerships with schools, Cooperative Extension offices, faith- or community-based organizations, and other safety-net service providers. Partnerships can be beneficial to building agency capacity by securing resources including facilities, volunteers or staff, and funding, as well as sharing ideas for successful integration.

We offer the following free resources for service providers looking to form partnerships.

Selecting Potential Partners

The first consideration when selecting potential partners is common purpose. A community asset map or environmental scan is a good place to start when attempting to identify potential partners serving the same population with complimentary goals. There are also specific considerations for working with faith-based organizations to ensure separation of religious activities from social program activities when serving clients through government-funded programs.

Assessing Organizational Infrastructure

In order for public-private partnerships to be successful, there needs to be a culture of collaboration within the governmental agency and a structured environment within the community-based organization (e.g., board governance and formalized policies and processes).

  • This Collaboration Assessment Tool (PDF, 86 KB) has been used by TANF Agencies to assess their level of readiness for collaboration based on their organizational culture and leadership support for collaboration.
  • This Non-Profit Organizational Assessment Tool  (PDF, 193 KB)  allows non-profit organizations to assess their organizational infrastructure related to board governance, staffing, risk management, and other critical areas.

Partnership Structures

Partnerships can be structured to be as informal or formal as desired. For example, partnerships may include you providing funding to a partner in exchange for them providing healthy marriage services to your clients, or your partnership may be based on a mutual need to serve the targeted population.

Some examples of partnership structures might include: 

  • Referral Only: applies when an agency refers clients, but does not accept referrals.
  • Cross-referral: occurs when both partners can make and receive referrals.
  • On-site services: occurs when the community organization sends an instructor to your agency to offer instruction to your clients who pre-register for a class or workshop.
  • Co-location of services: occurs when services provided by two agencies are available in the same physical space. An example of this is in Florida, where TANF clients can apply for services on-line at the Jacksonville Eastside Resource Center, while also attending parenting, financial literacy, and healthy relationship classes.

Managing/Monitoring Partner Relationships

Written agreements ensure clarification of roles and responsibilities by both partners. Agreements can be prepared as Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) or Performance Based Contracts depending upon the needs of the partners and the contractual requirements of your organization.

At a minimum, every agreement should include the purpose of the partnership, roles, responsibilities, timeframe, and intended outcomes. The following free resources will help you set up an agreement with your partners.

  • This Partnership Agreement Template can be used to think through potential public/private partnerships, including purpose and individual roles and responsibilities. Once completed, it can serve as a foundation for partnership agreements.
  • This is a sample of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a public/private partnership that outlines roles and responsibilities of both parties.
  • This presentation explains Performance Based Contracts outlines roles and responsibilities and links monetary payments to specific deliverables outlined in the agreement.

Still looking for more information? Check out our online and in-person training options. All our training materials are research-based and free. We can help provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to begin the integration process.

Ask us for help! Our team is available to answer any specific questions or provide free assistance as you begin integrating healthy marriage and relationship education into your service delivery system. Just complete a Training and Technical Assistance request form to begin the process.