A Multiple Agencies and Counties Partnership: Improving Parental Substance Use and Services Delivery Outcomes through a Network Development And Collaboration

Jennifer Smith Ramey, Jeff Randall


Cross-sector collaboration has been defined as connecting or sharing information, resources, activities, and capabilities by organizations in two or more areas to achieve together an outcome that could not be achieved by organizations in one area separately (Bryson, Crosby, & Stone, 2006). To collaborate, agencies may need to consider questions, such as why to collaborate; what theory or theories will guide the collaboration; what are characteristics of effective networks; what governing structure will be used; how to evaluate the effectiveness of the collaboration
network; and what are the benefits and challenges of collaboration. Because families are not being provided services within expected timeframes and because of a significant increase in foster care placements—which was largely driven by parental
substance use—there is a need for collaboration among service providers in Central Virginia. A Multiple Agencies and Counties Partnership (MACP) was formed to address these problems. The purpose of this article is to present a case study of the
development and accomplishments of MACP in Central Virginia and to relate the development and accomplishments of MACP to each of the aforementioned considerations, which may provide generalized lessons that other agencies may consider when collaborating.

Keywords: collaboration, substance use, community, lessons learned

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.