The Communities That Care Coalition was formed in 2002 in Franklin County, Massachusetts, when a group of community members came together to address alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use among local youth. CTC provides a structure for community members to coordinate their work around a common data-driven and evidence-based plan. That is, CTC uses data about the status of local young people to identify needs and measure the success of programs. And CTC stays current with prevention research and selects strategies that have been proven effective in reducing risky youth behaviors.
- We strive to build connections among youth, families, schools, and communities to decrease youth substance use and violence and improve academic success, mental health, and general well-being.
- We work to create a socially and economically just, safe, inclusive place for all members of our community. We understand that racism and other forms of intolerance, injustice, and inequity are public health issues that must be addressed.
- We think beyond preventing harmful behaviors to promoting positive youth development. We seek strategies that are empowering and build young people’s resilience and their capacity to make healthy choices in the long run.
- We use a public health model and address the underlying risk and protective factors. We use approaches that have been proven to be effective. We choose strategies that are appropriate to our region, based on current local data.
- We engage all sectors of the community and support each other’s work, building our collective capacity to achieve sustainable impact.
- We recognize that young people make choices in an environment shaped by their families, peers, schools, communities and culture. We work for positive change in individuals and the environment in which they live, and we advocate for policy change at the local, state, and national level.
The Communities That Care Coalition’s vision is that Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region be a place where young people are able to reach their full potential and thrive with ongoing and coordinated support from schools, parents and the community.
The Communities That Care Coalition’s mission is to bring together schools, families, youth, and the community to improve youth health and health equity.
What we do
CTC maintains a Community Action Plan that identifies goals and objectives, priority areas for work, and strategies and programs to address those areas. The original Community Action Plan came out of a two-year community assessment and planning process, and it has continued to evolve as new data become available.
CTC mentors sister coalitions through a strategic planning process to help them coalesce, target their efforts, and position themselves to win grant funding to support their work. In this way, CTC is seeking to become a coalition of coalitions, with CTC providing guidance and services best suited to a regional approach, and sister coalitions doing the focused work needed in their geographical areas. CTC’s sister coalitions are the Gill-Montague Community School Partnership, the P.A.R.T. Task Force of the North Quabbin Community Coalition, and Greenfield’s Safe Schools, Safe Streets Coalition.
CTC is co-hosted by the Partnership for Youth (a program of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments) and Community Action Pioneer Valley, and has representation from local government, businesses, schools, law enforcement, faith-based organizations, media, hospitals, service providers, parents and youth. CTC’s Coordinating Council, which functions as the decision-making body for the coalition, includes leaders from each of these sectors of the community. The day-to-day work of the coalition is guided by workgroups and committees — the Policy and Practice Change Workgroup, the Parent Education Workgroup, the Regional School Health Task Force, the Mass in Motion Steering Committee, the Racial Justice Workgroup, and the Youth Leadership Initiative. For further detail on the coalition’s governing structure, see the CTC Organizational Chart to the left and CTC Principles of Operation.
Over the decade of its existence, CTC has seen declines in local youth substance use and has received national recognition for its work. In 2007, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), with a membership of over 5000 substance abuse prevention coalitions, named CTC its Coalition for the Year for demonstrating positive outcomes of coalition work. In 2008, CTC co-chair Kat Allen received CADCA’s Advocate of the Year Award, and in 2009 the Massachusetts Department of Public Health awarded CTC its Healthy Communities Principles Award for building capacity using local assets and resources. In 2012, the Stanford Innovation Review profiled CTC as a initiative that has used a “Collective Impact” approach to achieve community-level change.
Find more on coalition successes here.