Development of the Urban Partnerships Initiative Online Toolkit began during the spring of 2007 with involvement of a diverse group of human services professionals with expertise in State and Federal TANF administration and in specific TANF-related fields such as housing, mental health, education, community-based organizations, and strategic communications. Leveraging this expertise, the toolkit development team conducted a comprehensive environmental scan that included a thorough review of the literature on welfare reform, collected both internal recommendations and field nominations from the 10 Administration for Children and Families Regional Offices, and attended conferences where experts in the field presented information on emerging practices in human service delivery. The team also established review criteria to be used in selecting the most promising practices for further exploration in teleconferences and at site visits.
The team solicited nominations for promising practices from the 26 Urban Partnerships Initiative cities, which were spread out geographically across the nation. Although not every Urban Partnerships Initiative city was represented in the toolkit, the team also examined promising practices in surrounding cities and counties to maximize the information available to the field:
The toolkit development team scheduled site visits and phone interviews to collect information about how programs evolved from concept to implementation, as well as details about their daily operations. The team conducted half-day site visits to most of the locations, and scheduled in-depth telephone interviews with sites that could not be visited, in order to gather ideas, strategies, suggestions, and tools to be shared with other urban TANF stakeholders.