Resources for Child Caring: An Early Childhood Intermediary?

by Carolyn Westra

May 10, 2010
While Minnesota's early childhood (EC) system has many assets, the existing high degree of fragmentation creates resource accessibility problems for both families and providers. Recently, there has been a growing call for a unified voice to facilitate change in Minnesota's early childhood system. This presents an opportunity for an organization like Resources for Child Caring (RCC), a well‐established regional organization, to assume a prominent role in efforts to reform the EC system by becoming an intermediary organization. Becoming an intermediary would provide RCC an opportunity to grow and become a leader in efforts to improve services and outcomes for Minnesota's children.Before taking this path, RCC will need to carefully consider the benefits and consequences of such a change and whether such a move would fit the mission and vision of the organization. To help RCC assess its capacity for growth and to fulfill an intermediary role, we conducted an in‐depth study of the organization's current state, as well as research on the Minnesota early childhood field and existing models of intermediary organizations. This report presents our literature review, organizational audit of current conditions, and organizational gap analysis.
  • Resources for Child Caring lacks a consensus on mission, vision, and purpose, and does not have a strategic plan to direct future growth. Its structure impedes communication and innovation, and staff do not receive support from management. RCC is also not well-known in the community, hindered by a lack of expertise in public relations and branding,
  • Resources of Child Caring is uniquely poised to play an intermediary role in Minnesota's early childhood education system because of its longevity, breadth and depth of services, financial stability, and talented staff and leadership.
  • Of the four intermediary functions (Connecting, Convening, Measuring, and Sustaining), RCC may be best suited to perform a Connecting role, as it is most similar to its current activities.
  • Although becoming an intermediary would present a great opportunity for RCC, it is equally clear that it poses significant risk for the organization. The threat is that RCC will not be able to fill this role well, and will invest significant resources that do not lead to improved outcomes for children.
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