To carry out their mission, AOK Networks must (1) strengthen their capacity as a Network, (2) enhance service delivery, and (3) improve the system of services and supports that meets the needs of, and improves outcomes for, expecting parents as well as children birth to 5 and their families. AOK Networks work with 3 sets of principles to guide practice and behavior in each of these areas.
The following principles help AOK Network partners increase their capacity to work well together.
- People support what they create.
- People act most responsibly when they care.
- Conversation is the way humans have always thought together. In conversation we discover shared meanings.
- To change the conversation change who is in the conversation.
- Expect leadership to come from anywhere.
- Focusing on what’s working gives us energy and creativity. Ask what’s possible, not what’s wrong.
- The wisdom resides within us.
- Everything’s a failure in the middle. Change occurs in cycles.
- Learning is the only way we become smarter about what we do.
- Meaningful work is a powerful human motivator.
- Humans can handle anything as long as we’re together.
- Generosity, forgiveness, and love, these are the most important elements in a community.
*From The Berkana Institute & Neighborhood Centers, Inc.
The following principles help service providers respect and honor parents/caregivers’ inherent strengths, wisdom and capacity to care for their families. These principles help communities improve the overall quality of service delivery.
- Staff and families work together in relationships based upon equality and respect.
- Staff enhance families’ capacity to support the growth and development of all family members – adults, youth, and children.
- Families are resources to their own members, to other families, to programs, and to communities.
- Programs affirm and strengthen families’ cultural, racial, and linguistic identities and enhance their ability to function in a multicultural society.
- Programs are embedded in their communities and contribute to the community-building process.
- Programs advocate with families for services and systems that are fair, responsive, and accountable to the families served.
- Practitioners work with families to mobilize formal and informal resources to support family development.
- Programs are flexible and continually responsive to emerging family and community issues.
These system building principles guide AOK Network partners in building a comprehensive, system of services and supports that increases families’ satisfaction with the system while improving service access, quality, equity, and capacity.
- Proactive: The system promotes the growth and well being of all young children.
- Holistic: The system is comprehensive and addresses the full range of a young child’s developmental needs.
- Inclusive: The system integrates all community services for pregnant women, young children, and their parents/caregivers.
- Strength-based: The system builds upon the strengths of families.
- Culturally sensitive: The system is respectful and sensitive to the diverse needs of families.
- User-friendly: The system is voluntary as well as easy to access and use.
- Family involved: Families are involved in the development of the system.
- Coordinated: Services are aligned and connected so that families can easily access services across typical service domains.
- Outcomes-based: The system improves outcomes.
- Cooperative: Development of the system is a cooperative, community effort.