Memorandum of Association (MOA)

Please see below our MOA that we ask all approved members of the Child, Youth and Family Services Coalition of Simcoe County to sign. If you are interested in becoming a member please click here for our application.

January 2017

Child Youth and Family Services Coalition of Simcoe County

Memorandum of Association

Purpose

The Child Youth and Family Services Coalition (Coalition) of Simcoe County is a collaborative entity designed to increase the effectiveness of the service delivery system in Simcoe County for children, youth and their families. As an unincorporated entity, the Coalition has no binding power over its members but exists to better coordinate their collective efforts to serve children, youth and their families. Council derives its influence from Coalition members and works through persuasion and consensus. It is essential that Coalition members continue to invest in the mission of the Coalition and to see their own interests and those of their clients well served by Coalition initiatives.

The purpose of this Memorandum of Association (MOA) is to clearly define the structure, decision making authority and scope, fiscal responsibility and membership rules of the Coalition. Legal counsel has advised that the Coalition should clarify these issues in an MOA if it chooses to remain an unincorporated entity.

In addition this MOA contains a Schedule on Integrated Working that outlines how Coalition members can work more closely together to provide a more effective service system for children, youth and their families. For those members who are participating in specific forms of integrated working (e.g. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or FASD, Wraparound, Single Plan of Care or SPOC etc.), a specific protocol agreement is attached in Schedule C.

Vision A community where all children, youth and families reach their full potential.

Mission To maximize the capacity, effectiveness and cultural uniqueness of the child youth and family service system through collective efforts.

Values

Commitment (We are accountable individually and collectively to our vision, mission and values)

Strategic Innovation (We anticipate change, capitalize on opportunities and amplify the impact of initiatives)

Integrity (We demonstrate honesty and fairness in everything we do as a Coalition)

Respect (We treat each other with mutual respect and sensitivity, recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion. We respect all individuals and value their contribution)

Transparency (We communicate openly and frequently).

 

Strategic Plan The Coalition renews its Strategic Plan every three years in a Coalition-wide planning day. The current Strategic Plan (2014-17) includes the following major themes:

  1. System Integration–An inclusive, integrated system of supports and services for families, children and youth of Simcoe County
  2. Common Focus on Resilience—Resilient children and youth in Simcoe County
  3. Enabling Action to Promote Change—Strategic priority projects are identified, successfully implemented and sustained
  4. Demonstrating Outcomes—Best practice, evidence-based knowledge and practice for continuous improvement.

 

Structure

 

Decision Making, Scope of Authority

Coalition Council (40+ members) Made up of members of the Coalition who support the Coalition’s vision, mission and values, pay annual sliding scale fees, and designate an executive staff person to represent them at Council meetings five times a year.

  • Primary decision-making body re. policy, planning and budgeting.
  • Takes guidance from Secretariat, Infrastructure and Planning which it has empowered to research, discuss and make recommendations in the areas noted below.
  • Provides oversight & leadership to Coalition, ensuring alignment of Coalition with its overall Strategic Plan.
  • Approves and monitors annual budget.
  • Creates a forum for information-sharing, networking and education/inspiration of members.

 

Executive Committee (9 members) Made up of the Coalition Chair, Vice Chair and Past Chair, Treasurer, Advocacy/Government Relations Officer, Communication Officer, Capacity Building Officer, Member Relations Officer and Planning Table Representative.

  • Creates the support systems and manages the processes that enable the Coalition to achieve its strategic outcomes.
  • Develops, implements and maintains systems to enable the Coalition to conduct business.
  • Provides a forum for discussion and recommendations to Council.
  • Ensures ongoing leadership of Coalition Council and Integrated Planning Table.
  • Demonstrates outcomes to support strategic objectives.
  • Recruitment and recommendations for retaining contracted services.
  • Efficient budget and financial management.
  • Manages member relations, communications and advocacy.

 

Planning Table (approximately 15 members) In the context of the Coalition Strategic Plan, encourages integrated planning and coordinates Coalition networks, projects, task groups through regular updates. Planning Table feedback to these groups may include:

  • Identifying unmet needs of children, youth and families in Simcoe County
  • Identifying opportunities for collaboration and encouraging new proposal development
  • Receiving proposals from new projects and assessing their alignment with Coalition priorities
  • Encouraging alignment of existing Coalition projects to better serve children, youth and families
  • Encouraging alignment of Coalition members’ work to maximize their joint impact
  • Ensuring initiatives are based on best practices and realistic outcomes
  • Monitoring projects and ensuring transition to on-going program status where applicable
  • Making recommendations for increased capacity in the system.

 

Fiscal Responsibility

Since the Coalition is not an incorporated body, it cannot own property, undertake contracts, sue or be sued, or protect its members or Council from personal liability in the unlikely event of a law suit. With regard to fiscal responsibility, the Coalition must work with a member organization which is willing to act as a trustee for any funding it receives or any contracts it undertakes, including arrangements with contract staff.

Within this context, the Council has responsibility for the adoption and monitoring of an annual budget developed by Coalition contract staff in consultation with the Treasurer and Executive Committee. Staff are responsible for bookkeeping and reporting to the Executive Committee and Council, in consultation with the Fiscal Trustee. The Trustee organization will receive, manage and disburse funds, and undertake contracts, on behalf of the Coalition.

 

  

Schedule A: Membership

Membership Eligibility

  • eligible Coalition members are not-for-profit or public organizations that serve children, youth and their families (excludes for profit organizations or individuals), apply to Infrastructure for membership, support the Coalition vision, mission and values, pay sliding scale fee ($100-8,000 plus $100 Council meeting fee) based on portion of budget devoted to children & youth services in Simcoe County.
  • representatives from non-member organizations may sit on Coalition Task Groups but not on Tables or Council
  • local funders are invited to sit as full members on Council, pay fees and may vote as well as signing this MOA; provincial ministries cannot become full members.
  • coordinators of key initiatives that are aligned with the Coalition’s top priority goals may be invited to sit on Council for the duration of the initiative (no fees and no vote).

Membership Expectations

Membership in the Coalition carries both obligations and benefits. Benefits include the opportunity to:

  • work together to improve outcomes for children and youth
  • receive free membership in to the Simcoe County Data Consortium which provides access to Statistics Canada enhanced reports (a $2,000/yr value)
  • have your organization’s name and link to your site posted on the Coalition website and included on Coalition promotional materials such as the Members Report
  • use of the Coalition logo based on the Coalition Brand Standards
  • participate in collective assessment of community need in relation to programs and services to help you build relationships and find new partners
  • garner community support for new initiatives that your organization may wish to move forward
  • work together to advocate for services
  • create synergy of actions and continuity of service where mandates relate or overlap
  • fulfill mandate and influence programming across the region.

Obligations include

    • prompt payment of annual member fees[1]
    • commitment of a senior staff person to prepare for and attend 5 Council meetings held every other month between September and June.
    • active participation in Coalition strategic planning, policy development, initiatives and activities by member organizations
    • represent the Coalition perspective and speak with one voice on issues of importance to the whole.
    • uphold a communication standard with the use of the Coalition brand and logo that is consistent with the mission, vision and values of the Coalition
    • support and advocate for positions that have been developed by the Coalition.[2]
    • be willing to support others in advocating for specific programs, positions or issues of relevance to that member organization alone.  

Schedule B: Integrated Working

This schedule defines guiding principles and key elements of integrated working among Coalition member organizations when working with common clients and families.  It is also a platform upon which accountability agreements are based for specific initiatives that require sustained service coordination/integration and ongoing integrated working among Coalition members.

Purpose

The Coalition’s Mission is to maximize the capacity, effectiveness and cultural uniqueness of the child, youth and family services system through collective efforts. Research indicates (Ref. Centre for Excellence’s lit review on service integration) that more families and children will have better outcomes when:

  • Services are well coordinated, integrated and strengths based
  • Families clearly understand the roles and responsibilities of each participating organization
  • The most streamlined, and least intrusive service delivery model is used.

Scope

Coalition members focus integrated working, on children, youth and families who are at high risk of poor outcomes, are living in or at risk of living in environments of compromised care, or for whom the universal and first stages of intervention by a single provider are not sufficient to meet the needs of the child or family. Integrated working is a continuum from simple to intensive coordination; the intensity of integrated working is based on the needs of the child/youth/family and the team members.

Guiding Principles

  1. Child safety is paramount
  2. Early identification and intervention are critically important
  3. Facilitate referrals to the appropriate organization or integrated initiative
  4. Child/Family Centred process
  5. Strengths–based (child, family and system) and anti-oppressive
  6. Inter-agency collaboration, common language and approaches are required to achieve a shared and holistic understanding of a child
  7. Efficient and effective intervention, grounded in evidence-based knowledge
  8. Professionals and families are partners in assessment, planning, decision making, and   intervention
  9. Assessment is a continuing process, not a single event, carried out in parallel with other action/service provision
  10. Services and supports (formal and informal) should be culturally appropriate, and reflect family values, priorities, strengths, and preferences.

 Roles and Responsibilities Related to Integrated Working

Joint work and coordination builds on and blends the mandates of all participating organizations so that a comprehensive approach can be developed for a child/youth/family that requires it. Each participating organization’s systems of accountability and responsibility remain separate but the manner in which participants deliver care and service is aligned wherever possible to minimize the family/child’s experience of fragmentation, duplication of effort and documentation, and to streamline care delivery. Coalition members’ staff adheres to their professional code of ethics regarding responsibility to children and families and overall professional representation, including the legislated requirements related to privacy, consent and duty to report.

Integrated working is based on a team approach that requires members from various organizations to come together with knowledge and respect for each other’s roles, knowledge and mandate,  and to develop a common understanding of the child’s and family’s needs and strengths.  The plan that is developed as a result focuses on outcomes related to the child’s safety, healthy development and wellbeing.

The team approach uses a systematic way of gathering and analyzing information in order to understand and record what is happening to children within their families and the wider context of the community. This leads to decisions about their needs, what actions to take and which services best meet the needs of this particular child and family.

The team gathers and evaluates information for a holistic understanding of the child and family’s strengths and needs within their environmental context, using a mix of tools to gather, analyze, and cross-check information prior to developing a plan.

The team approach differs from traditional service delivery in that it holds team members from multiple agencies equally accountable for promoting the welfare of the child or youth that is at the centre of the plan.  This shared way of thinking and understanding is likely to improve outcomes through a more efficient, creative, strength-based interagency assessment, planning and service delivery process.

The team approach and integrated working are enabled by Coalition members’ commitment to participation in:

  • a culture that brings staff together from time to time to enable the building of relationships across agencies and organizations, in local groupings
  • timely inter-agency communication at all levels, from senior managers to front-line staff, such as responsiveness to requests to work together, or the use of common tools, language and documentation to facilitate the integrated work of team members
  • training in the basics of inter-professional practice
  • willingness to take a team lead or service co-ordinator role when appropriate to work with the family to plan, coordinate and monitor the formal and informal supports and ensure that service providers work together with the family in a comprehensive approach
  • ensuring appropriate measures are in place regarding privacy and consent for integrated working
  • use of common tools and frameworks that facilitate a common language and holistic, evidence-based approaches among Coalition members.

Accountability and Sustainability of Integrated Initiatives

When Coalition members agree to integrated working on a long term basis, such as Suicide Prevention, FASD, or Single Plan of Care, a Memorandum of Understanding will be developed and signed by those organizations participating in that protocol, to specify the following:

  • The purpose, outputs & outcomes, scope and core elements and timeframe of the initiative
  • Clear delineation of roles and responsibilities of participating organizations with respect to:
    • Staffing and Supervision
    • Communication
    • Resources and Tools
    • Training
    • Documentation
    • Privacy
    • Evaluation plan
    • Leadership and an Oversight structure.

Decision-Making and Conflict Resolution

Decision-making is done wherever possible, by consensus that is sufficient to proceed with action. In the case of specific initiatives, a lead agency may be identified that has responsibility for final decision-making within specified parameters. Conflict could arise between clients and professionals, or between professionals. Conflict resolution will be approached through the following staged progressive process:

Stage 1:

  • The problem is clearly identified by the party(s) involved.
  • A discussion occurs between the individuals involved to address possible solutions.
  • Problem resolution occurs by building consensus on most acceptable solution, if possible.

Stage 2: If problem is not resolved after Stage 1 process:

  • Communication occurs with the supervisors of the individuals involved.
  • The ‘team lead’ supports the family using existing mechanisms (e.g. documentation, written correspondence, verbal communication).
  • In the event of continued conflict between the family and the care providers, a change in care providers may be considered if possible.

Stage 3: If problem is not resolved after Stage 2 process:

  • In the event of unresolved conflict between the family and the lead or care provider, a case conference is arranged (may be initiated at request of family, ‘lead’ and/or another team member).
  • In the event of unresolved conflict between the staff and/or organizations, senior management of the respective organizations become involved.

[1] Coalition effectiveness depends directly on member financial support. If a member fails to pay annual fees after the initial invoice in February and two follow up attempts in June and September, benefits of membership will be revoked (including sitting at Council or at one of the Coalition tables, website and other Coalition promotion, access to the Data Consortium)

[2] On a matter of principle, a member organization may not agree with all decisions being made by the Council or its Tables. The organization has a right to withdraw from participating in such decisions yet still remain part of the Coalition. The organization’s representative may wish to have their difference noted in the minutes and recuse themselves from the discussion.