Case #1673.1

The Challenge of Multi-Agency Collaboration: Launching a Large-Scale Youth Development Project in Hartford (Sequel)

Publication Date: November 05, 2002
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The idea that better "collaboration" among public and private service providers improves the effectiveness of social service programs for the poor is virtually uncontested in social service circles--yet many efforts at collaboration founder. This case, which tells the story of an ambitious collaboration effort in Hartford, illustrates many of the difficulties and missteps that occur in trying to implement a collaboration project. Eager to participate in a well-funded Department of Labor "youth opportunity" program, Hartford's civic leaders brought together all the local providers of services to older adolescents and young adults--the city administration, the school department, job training organizations, and nonprofit service providers. Their first task was to develop a proposal to compete for the DOL grant, which they did quite successfully. But as soon as the architects of the plan turned away from the abstract task of grant-writing and toward the concrete business of implementation, their apparent consensus about "YO Hartford" began to unravel. The main case details the initial planning process and the program's first 12 months, which featured a slow start rife with dissension about who should run YO Hartford and how it should be run. The sequel describes the mid-course corrections taken at the end of the first year.

Learning Objective:
This case can be used to help students delve below the optimistic rhetoric of collaboration to understand and address the many formidable obstacles to collaborating successfully--especially when millions of dollars are in play.

Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Pamela Varley
Faculty Lead:
Xavier de Souza Briggs
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States
Funding Source:
Annie E. Casey Foundation and United Way of America