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September/October 2011Vol. 12, No. 7A Community Initiative to Improve Outcomes for Children

A new publication from Casey Family Programs describes the Magnolia Place Community Initiative, a place-based effort to improve the lives of children and families in a 5-square-mile area of Los Angeles, CA, notable for low academic achievement, low rates of employment, and high rates of child welfare involvement. Officially launched in 2008, the Magnolia Place Community Initiative includes a community center that houses more than 70 agencies and county departments within the neighborhood being served. But the core of the initiative is the incorporation of the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework in order to build resiliency and create sustainable change throughout the neighborhood.

The Casey report, Getting to Scale: The Elusive Goal, describes how the Magnolia Place Community Initiative is working so far, what the challenges and successes have been, and what will be the key components to achieving community success. The report is organized around five commitments that service providers have made as part of the initiative:

  • Accept the challenge to improve the lives of all of the children within the community.
  • Acknowledge that while services may be necessary for everyone at various points, services themselves are not sufficient for achieving community-level change.
  • Be reflective and do not repeat things that did not work in the past.
  • Honor the promising work happening in the community by supporting it and building on it.
  • Focus the planning on those things that each has some control over.

The full report was written by Patricia Bowie and is available on the Casey website: (2.31 MB)