In order to sustain your initiative by integrating it into state or local systems, it is necessary to know about developing or current policies, regulations, and procedures and to seek opportunities to influence or connect your initiative to them. It is important to understand not only how and when policy changes are made and how initiatives are funded, but the priorities and movements that you can influence, how you can address any policy or procedure changes necessary for the sustainability of your initiative, and how you can capitalize on emerging funding streams.
Think broadly and creatively. For example, if chronic absenteeism is a priority in your state, how can you link and embed your school climate initiative to it? Or if you want community mental health providers to offer services in the school system, what needs to change to make that happen so that it is sustainable?
These sections provide information on some growing or established movements to link to, how and when to get involved in the development of legislation and regulations, basic funding streams to consider, and templates and worksheets you can adapt to help organize and track the policy items that are important to you.
You will learn about ways that you can advance your initiative through policies and procedures by understanding the priorities of key players, developing relationships with those who can impact change or generate funding, and keeping abreast of new or emerging issues. Be prepared to engage officials and their staff in discussions on how child development and universal prevention can support their goals. Use your mapping assets work to show them how well current initiatives are working or where there are gaps that need filling to encourage support for your approach.
At the same time you are focusing on particular policies and players at the state or local level, it is necessary to pay attention to what is happening at the other levels of government for there is a dynamic relationship between federal, state and local policies. Policies enacted at the state or federal level can impact local initiatives – whether they are meant to or not.
Staying up-to-date on the ever-changing policy environment of education, health and mental health is crucial. Doing so will help you scope out policy opportunities in your state or locality, and help you identify policy levers in the budget, legislative, and regulatory processes in order to anticipate immediate and long-term next steps. There may also be be opportunities to sustain your initiative through policies, regulations or procedures that are not directly tied to child development, so be willing to think beyond the easily identifiable targets
Updated January 2018