Sustainability Road Map

Follow these steps to guide you toward keeping Linkages going over time. Learn from the experience of other counties using the tips and resources included along the way.

1. Assess the Sustainability of Linkages

Once your Linkages program is up and running you can use the Linkages Sustainability Assessment Tool to determine how well your Linkages program is positioned for the long run. This questionnaire helps your Team reveal where your program is becoming institutionalized and where there may be growing edges that need attention to ensure its longevity.

Experience tells us…

  • Stepping back to honestly reflect on how your Linkages program is going helps renew your team toward planning for the future.
  • Gather the Implementation Team to generate collective answers to the assessment tool questions–don’t let one person speak for everyone.
  • If you haven’t already started tracking results for Linkages; begin now. Sustainability hinges on being able to show client, program or cost outcomes to make the case that Linkages is worthwhile.

2. Interpret Results of Sustainability Assessment

Your team’s answers to the rating scales on the Sustainability Assessment indicate strengths to build on and areas to develop in order to sustain and/or expand Linkages in your county. Items scored at the lower end of the rating scale (1-3) are likely areas of focus. Such scores indicate Linkages may not be fully implemented or momentum may have been lost for various reasons. Discuss with your team why these gaps may exist and what actions are needed to keep Linkages moving forward. If your current Linkages program seems fully in place, consider new locations within your county or new target populations that may be able to benefit from Linkages service coordination.

Experience tells us…

  • There are many reasons for a Linkages program to stall or lose momentum. Consider your current environment and identify both driving forces that are advancing Linkages and restraining forces that are holding it back. To stimulate change, devise strategies that increase driving forces and/or decrease restraining forces.
  • Nothing slows down a new program more than keeping it hidden from view. Make the collaboration between CalWORKs and CWS visible: talk about it at staff or unit meetings, write an article for the county website or newsletter, share success stories and announce program milestones.
  • Money talks: Draw attention to the value of sustaining Linkages by showing the cost savings that can result from leveraging resources.


3. Develop Sustainability Strategies

Be strategic about the actions that will move Linkages forward in your county. These can include small, easy “wins” that make a big difference, like publicizing some Linkages success stories to spread the word that Linkages works. Or it can involve bringing your Linkages program to scale by rolling-out CalWORKs/CWS service coordination in all offices within the county. Regardless of the scope of your next steps, his toolkit contains many resources from which your team can develop sustainability strategies.

Experience tells us…

  • Linkages becomes a more permanent practice when coordination activities can be support by automation.
  • Change the hearts and minds of your workforce with key messages, success stories and other communication strategies that make the case for service coordination.
  • Use Meet ‘n’ Greets, co-location, joint training and other relationship building techniques to cultivate a strong working partnership.
  • Collect and share positive evaluation results, even on a small scale, to convey the impact of service coordination.
  • Regularly recognize staff for their accomplishments to cultivate the next generation of Linkages leaders.
  • Use fiscal case plans and cost savings data to inform leadership about the value of maximizing funding sources for mutual clients.

4. Revise Work Plan to Promote Sustainability

In collaboration with your Linkages Implementation Team, adjust the work plan to implement strategies that will advance Linkages to the next level. Whether your goal is expansion of the program to new areas of the county, strengthening service collaboration between CalWORKs and CWS, or simply maintaining the gains already achieved from Linkages, a plan will help you stay on course.

Experience tells us…

  • Communicate the vision broadly and infuse the philosophy of Linkages into all aspects of the program.