The earlier you engage stakeholders, the more likely you are to realize key benefits. Inform, consult, and involve partners so that you have better planned, informed, and accountable policies, projects, programs, and services. For CCDF Administrators, the benefits of engagement include improved information flows and policy and program results by tapping into local knowledge and having the opportunity to road test policy initiatives or proposals with stakeholders. Providing opportunities for input from a diverse group of stakeholders is essential to sound design and implementation of the early childhood system and to carrying out the state’s leadership role in the work.
Providing ongoing and meaningful opportunities for communication and input allows stakeholders to contribute as experts in their field, have their issues heard, and contribute to the decisionmaking process. Good communication and engagement can also result in stakeholders and partners who are more encouraged to collaborate to build a system of supports that responds to the needs of young children and families.
Some benefits for all involved include a greater understanding of complex issues, raised awareness, and avoidance of possible misunderstandings.
Selected Benefits for State Leaders of Proactive Stakeholder Communication and Engagement
Creates higher quality decisionmaking
Increases efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery
Supports sustainability planning
Improves risk management practices, allowing risks to be identified and considered earlier, thereby reducing future costs
Improves processes for systems building and policy development that consider knowledge, experience, and multiple perspectives
Leverages stakeholder expertise and perspective
Encourages greater sensitivity to policy and delivery design that meet community needs and ensure achievement of objectives
Enhances community confidence in policies and initiatives undertaken
Enhanced capacity to innovate by transparent gathering of ideas and feedback
Increases accountability for investment of public resources
Key Benefits for Stakeholders of Communication and Engagement
Offers greater opportunities to contribute directly to systems development as well as policy and program development
Leverages stakeholder expertise
Makes lines of communication more open and transparent
Increases accountability of CCDF Lead Agency
Has potential to drive innovation
Improves access to decisionmaking processes, resulting in the delivery of more efficient and responsive services
Identifies synergies between stakeholder and CCDF work early on, encouraging integrated and comprehensive solutions to complex policy issues
For a fuller discussion of work in States to focus on local systems development and its connection to state systems development, and the critical role of shared goals along with ongoing communication and feedback, see “Chapter 2: Local Systems Building Through Coalitions” in Rising to the Challenge: Building Effective Systems for Young Children and Families, A BUILD E-Book.