MDC developed the Integrated Services Delivery Network model to create community-based networks of nonprofit and public social services providers to use the two-generation Integrated Services Delivery (ISD) approach to empower economically vulnerable households to achieve major economic outcomes—defined as increased levels of education, employment, income, and financial stability. These outcomes are also important social determinants of health and improve health outcomes for economically vulnerable people. MDC is partnering with United Way of Greater Greensboro and community stakeholders to pilot the first “ISD Network” as part of their efforts to create a Family Economic Success Ecosystem in Guilford County, North Carolina.
The ISD approach bundles, sequences, and delivers services to empower economically vulnerable households across three areas:
- Work, health, and income supports
- Education and career advancement
- Financial education and coaching
Research and practice show that connecting economically vulnerable households with work, income and health supports—the first ISD service type—reduces poverty; boosts employment and wage growth; increases upward economic mobility; enhances financial stability; increases educational performance and attainment; reduces hunger; and improves health outcomes.
Research and practice also confirm that bundling, sequencing, and delivering supports across service types, using ISD, increases the odds by three to four times that economically vulnerable households will achieve major economic outcomes—increased levels of education, employment, income, and financial stability. The underlying neuroscience is that delivering multiple services simultaneously at convenient locations and providing assistance to navigate the complex web of social services are effective strategies for assisting households suffering from financial stress to access needed services.
The ISD Network model creates a network of social services providers to conduct intake, assessments, connections, referrals, and outcomes tracking between Network providers and to bundle, sequence, and deliver services across all three areas of ISD: (1) work, health, and income supports; (2) education and career advancement; and (3) financial education and coaching.
The ISD Network model enables the delivery of supports and services to be coordinated across geographic regions and for outputs and outcomes to be tracked, measured, and reported by a common system. The ISD Network model is designed to produce, measure, and report outputs (in terms of increased usage of supports and services) and outcomes (for economically vulnerable households):
Addressing Social Determinants of Health
The major economic outcomes through the ISD Network model—increased levels of education, employment, income, and financial stability—are widely recognized as important social determinants of health. This means that the ISD Network model, in addition to serving as an important strategy for empowering economically vulnerable households, is also a powerful strategy to address social determinants of health and improve health outcomes.
The ISD Network model leverages MDC’s deep expertise and experience across three areas:
- Designing and building systems for connecting economically vulnerable people with available supports and services. Examples include: The Benefit Bank® of North Carolina, Health Care Navigators, and NC VetsCorps.
- Facilitating, coaching, and advising the formation, development, and governance of local or regional partnerships and networks to tackle vexing social programs in Southern communities. Examples include: Partners for Postsecondary Success, the Network for Southern Economic Mobility, and the Program for the Rural Carolinas.
- Providing training and technical assistance to enable front-line social services providers to deliver integrated services to empower economically vulnerable households to achieve major economic outcomes. Examples include: the Working Families Success Network, the national ISD Collaborative, the Virginia Financial Success Network, and Guilford Family Economic Success Ecosystem.
The problems addressed by ISD Networks are particularly critical in the South, where MDC focuses its work and possesses special expertise. For example:
- Southern communities suffer from higher poverty rates and larger racial income and education disparities than other regions of the United States, as MDC analyzed in its 2018 State of the South report “Recovering Our Courage”
- The South has the worst upward economic mobility rates of any region in the United States, according to Raj Chetty with Opportunity Insights at Harvard University
- Directly linked to poverty, disparities, economic immobility, and their impacts, life expectancy is declining faster in the South and higher rates of chronic disease such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke are concentrated in the South
MDC and its partners are developing strategies for scaling the ISD Network model to address these challenges across more Southern communities.
For more information, contact MDC Senior Program Director Ralph Gildehaus.