The Future Services Institute supports the Pathways to Prosperity and Wellbeing initiative of Olmsted and Dakota Counties, Minnesota. The goals of the Pathways to Prosperity and Wellbeing pilot program are to develop, implement and test a Whole Families program that offers customized responses to the needs of young families, enables them to apply their talents, and reduce the consequences of generational poverty. To accomplish this, there need to be substantive changes at every level of the human service system, from policy formulation, to management and supervision, to practice with families.

To accomplish these goals, those who work directly with families need to have more ability to use their judgement to respond to the needs of young parents and their children. The practice model – that keeps whole family needs at the center of the service approach – recognizes that a partnership needs to be forged between frontline staff and families. It is a relationship-based practice. It is customized to family needs. But it also requires that staff have more tools and support to respond to family needs, which are hard for the system to predict or control.

The pilot program is the first step in creating a new service system. In that regard, it seeks to develop both operational and administrative integration, and develop new capacities within county human services organizations. It is both an effort to decrease barriers to service access and motivate larger changes in the administration of rules and policies.

For the first phase of this initiative, FSI played the role of facilitating and supporting the design of the pilot through the human-centered design process.

In the current phase of this initiative, FSI plays the role of process evaluator, training support, and continuous design support.