Early Childhood Systems Building Resource Guide

Sustainability and Systems Building

For the Long Haul: Maintaining Systems of Care Beyond the Federal Investment (Chris Koyanagi and Darienne Feres-Merchant, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, 2000).
This paper provides an in-depth description of sustainability strategies used by Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program sites. It examines the fundamental strategies that were used to sustain systems of care and maintain long-term financial stability beyond the end of the grant. This paper is based on a review of non-federal funds secured by sites, and on conversations with site directors, policymakers, and others concerning the most successful strategies to ensure long-term stability for the sites. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Sustainability Planning and Implementation (Early Learning Challenge Technical Assistance Program, 2015).
This resource answers core questions and issues recently identified by state leaders regarding sustainability planning and implementation. It focuses on how early childhood leaders and coalitions designed and implemented plans to sustain progress and achieve goals developed through the Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge as federal funding was ending. Although each state is unique, and state approaches will vary, many sustainability themes and processes identified in this document are relevant across all states.

Sustainability Planning Framework (Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).
This document was created to provide a sustainability framework that can help Early Head Start–Child Care Partnerships grantees determine potential strategies to sustain their work together over time. 

Tools and Guides

Beyond Sustainability to Resilience for Community Action Agencies and Other Community Based Organizations (Julie Jakopic, iLead Strategies, 2012).
iLead Strategies developed this tool to help community-based organizations, specifically community action agencies, understand and assess their capacity in terms of six elements of sustainability: vision and mission, results orientation, strategy, strategic resource development, resilience, and a sustainability plan. It provides an in-depth description of each element and its importance to sustainability and resilience over time. A self-assessment worksheet is provided for each element.

Program Sustainability Assessment Tool (Washington University in St. Louis Center for Public Health Systems Science, 2012).
This sustainability framework and assessment tool was developed at the Center for Public Health Systems Science (CPHSS). The work began in 2003 with Project LEaP, a rigorous process evaluation examining the effects of funding reductions on eight state tobacco-control programs. Recognizing that sustainability is a significant challenge for not only public health, but also social service and clinical care programs, in 2010 CPHSS began work on developing, refining, and disseminating the sustainability framework and assessment tool. The final tool has been reliability tested and can be used by programs in various levels and settings to better understand and plan for their sustainability. The tool walks programs through a four-step process: understanding sustainability, assessing sustainability, reviewing results, and developing an action plan to increase the likelihood of sustainability. 

The Road to Sustainability (National Center for Community Education and the Afterschool Alliance, 2002).
This workbook was designed to help afterschool programs understand and plan for the three major components of sustainability: building collaboration, advocating for support, and finding funding. It describes each component and why it is critical to sustainability, outlines strategies, provides examples and case studies of successful programs, and includes various worksheets to apply the information and plan action steps.

A Sustainability Planning Guide for Healthy Communities (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Communities Program’s Sustainability Planning Guide is a synthesis of science- and practice-based evidence designed to help coalitions, public health professionals, and other community stakeholders develop, implement, and evaluate a successful sustainability plan. The guide describes a 10-step sustainability planning process and outlines six sustainability approaches: policy, systems, and environmental change strategies; coalitions and partnerships; establishing a home for healthy communities work; building coalition members’ skills; communication strategies; and social marketing strategies. A module is provided for each approach. 

Sustainability Planning Template - HHS.gov (Office of Adolescent Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.).
This template is an easy-to-use document that outlines key steps in sustainability planning and implementation. It helps users identify goals, actions, roles, responsibilities, and timelines. 

Sustainability Planning Workbook (Barbara Hanson Langford, Margaret Flynn, and the Finance Project, 2003).
This workbook contains several worksheets and tools to help support and organize the sustainability planning process. It includes a sustainability self-assessment tool, a logic model template for developing and measuring sustainability efforts, and a workplan template. It also contains planning worksheets for key sustainability framework areas, such as financing strategically and leading change with others. 

Sustainability Rubric: A Tool to Help State Education Agencies Assess Their Current Efforts to Sustain Reform Strategies to Meet Student Achievement Goals and Sustainability Rubric for Local Educational Agencies (U.S. Department of Education Reform Support Network, 2015).
The sustainability rubrics were developed to help state and local education agencies assess the sustainability of a specific priority reform—a body of work that an agency is undertaking to achieve priority goals for student outcomes. The rubric covers 19 elements of sustainability and what characterizes “inadequate” to “exemplary” for each element.

Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool, Sustainability Planning Guide, and Sustainability Toolkit (Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grant Program State Support Team, 2013).
This set of resources was designed to help states as they plan to sustain their state longitudinal data systems (SLDSs). Each resource is built upon a four-part framework for sustainability: stakeholder support, ensuring widespread use, financial support, and return on investment. The self-assessment tool is meant to provide states with a reflective process for identifying areas of strength and areas in need of improvement, as well as short- and long-term goals. The planning guide offers practical suggestions and resources for each step in the process of maintaining a sustainable SLDS. The toolkit offers additional resources and best practices. 

Sustainability Self-Assessment Workbook and Sustainability Self-Assessment Workbook for Local Educational Agencies (U.S. Department of Education Reform Support Network, 2015).
These workbooks were designed to support the use of the sustainability rubrics (above). They outline five exercises that will help state and local education agencies conduct an initial self-assessment of the sustainability of their reforms.