MICA’s Peer to Peer Crisis Intervention Program began in 1999 as a response to the organizational needs of community action agencies (CAA) nationwide. Funded by the Office of Community Services (OCS), Administration for Families and Children, Department of Health and Human Services, the program makes training and technical assistance (T/TA) available to struggling community action agencies throughout the country.

In just four years, MICA’s Peer to Peer team of experts has helped 37 agencies nationwide reconstruct themselves into stronger, more effective organizations. More importantly, we have helped these agencies maintain their services to low-income Americans. We have strengthened their capacity to better meet their communities’ future needs.

Outcomes for Agencies

Agencies that receive our services see results.

  • Six agencies threatened with defunding corrected their deficiencies and maintained their funding streams.
  • Six agencies with inadequate fiscal procedures implemented new fiscal systems and received clean audits.
  • Two Head Start programs faced with imminent shutdown overhauled their programs and maintained their Head Start funding.

The Process

MICA’s Peer to Peer team responds to serious management concerns. An agency might identify these concerns in the course of a self-assessment process. More typically, a funder will find inadequacies during program monitoring. Funders refer community action agencies to MICA’s Peer to Peer program; they also notify our Peer to Peer staff of troubled agencies.

“MICA took an agency in extreme crisis and has given them the tools and expertise to become a healthy, thriving agency. This turnaround has been done in approximately four months, which in my experience has taken other agencies 12-18 months.”

– State CSBG Monitor

Once we have gained a community action agency’s agreement, a team of two or more Peer to Peer consultants carries out an on-site assessment. The results of the assessment are compared to the funder’s findings. MICA’s consultants then work with the community action agency’s staff to develop a corrective action plan. (In Head Start these are known as Quality Improvement Plans.) The plan specifies the necessary T/TA to correct deficient conditions and practices. It identifies the persons responsible for each desired outcome. A calendar of milestones sets time limits for the achievement of outcomes. Based on the plan, the Peer to Peer team negotiates a contract with the community action agency and individual funders, and assists partners to secure funding.

Peer to Peer consultants help community action agencies coordinate the corrective action plan. Training and technical assistance focus on three primary areas:

  • Maintaining agency operations. Peer to Peer consultants provide support to keep services ongoing, perform administrative functions, and improve communications with funders.
  • Reconstruction. Our consultants must often engage in extensive reconstruction of agency systems. This has been particularly true of financial management systems. Our expert accountants locate documents, reconcile bank statements, develop corrected reports, and reconstruct books of accounts.
  • Redesign of management systems. To create a foundation for sustained program quality, Peer to Peer consultants help agencies redesign their management systems. These include systems such as personnel, financial management, board bylaws, monitoring and accountability, and short- and long-range planning.

How to Contact Us

For more information about MICA’s Peer to Peer services contact:

Lisa Umphrey, Executive Assistant
Phone: (641)752-7162 ext. 106
Fax: 641-752-9724
[email protected]

“The MICA team, led by Magi York, is a group of outstanding individuals…(their) success is due to a number of factors:

  • the solid experience and expertise of each team member…
  • positive and productive team interaction
  • the stamina to evaluate and assess the situation in a timely manner
  • the courage to make recommendations which may be controversial but clearly in the best interests of the organization…”

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