Principles of Operation & Project Criteria
Principles of Operation
Collaboration and Partnership
We work in collaboration with organizations or members of the community in a partnership manner. We partner with them on mutually beneficial projects funded by external agencies. Our partners share the rights, responsibilities, and credit as we select a topic, plan and implement a project, operate it, and report its results.

We construct interdisciplinary groups to work in and with. We support educational,
scholarly, service, evaluation, and policy projects on any topic pertaining to children, youth, and families. We do not focus exclusively on one or two problems, issues, or content themes.

We facilitate, coordinate, and help others meet their goals and objectives. As a result, we do not necessarily play a lead or continuing role in projects. While we do operate numerous projects when collaborators request that we play a continuing role, we also enhance capacity in other organizations and individuals so that they, not OCD, can operate the project. We plan an appropriate role consistent with a project’s mission and principles, regardless of whether the project’s funding comes to OCD or to another organization. We spin off or transfer projects when they no longer need us or do not fit our project criteria.

As long as core funding permits, we do not charge or extract quid pro quo benefits from participating groups or projects. We want to preserve trust and confidence in OCD as a fair and independent manager of collaborations. However, funded projects that ask us to perform a continuing administrative or technical service typically pay us for that service.

Responsiveness and Flexibility
We are responsive and flexible in selecting special projects. Because of our partner­ship style, new projects are typically selected when a need is recognized, agencies and personnel are available, and funding for the project is possible. We often collaborate with our partners to set project agenda. We are prepared to operate in a timely, often rapid, manner. We try to maintain the capability and flexibility to meet our partner’s needs.

Neutrality and Openness
Our services and assistance are available to any of our constituencies, and anyone is eligible to be a partner in our collaborative projects.

We do not operate direct services. Since we try not to compete with our con­stituencies, we do not deliver routine professional or human services. We may coordinate existing services and supervise case-management functions in ­situations in which it is necessary or desirable to do so.

We promote the welfare of children, youth, and families, but we are not a partisan
political advocate. Instead of advocating for specific pieces of legislation or issues,
we operate as an independent, credible, unbiased, and balanced source of infor­mation and as an administrative manager of service demonstrations, program evaluations, needs assessments, and policy projects on behalf of children, youth, and families.
Project Criteria
We consider the following criteria before taking on a project:
  • The project pertains to children, youth, families, or the com­munities in which they live.
  • The project contains an innovative demonstration of new knowledge, techniques, best practices, and state-of-the-art activities intended to create new information about the project, its feasibility, and its effectiveness.
  • Some appropriate evaluation will be conducted to assess the project’s process and outcome effectiveness.
  • The project has implications for education, research, services, policy, or the welfare of children, youth, and families beyond the specific project itself, and some provision is made to communicate the results of the project.
  • The project is a collaboration of stakeholders operating in a partnership mode.