38 Clearinghouse Rev. 583 (2004-2005)
Power of Working with Community Organizations: The Illinois FamilyCare Campaign - Effective Results through Collaboration

handle is hein.journals/clear38 and id is 625 raw text is: The Power of Working with Community
Organizations: The Illinois FamilyCare
Campaign-Effective Results Through
Collaboration
A bipartisan group of state
legislators, administrators, ard
By John Bouman                                                            governor's office policy staff convene
to agree on a program model for
FamilyCare, clearing away partisan
Scenes from        the Illinois FamilyCare campaign:                      issues and reducing the delate to a
straightforward issue of funding.
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n October 2oo2 some 3o,ooo working poor Illinois parents became eligible for
health insurance through a newly created program called FamilyCare. Amidst alle-
gations of influence peddling and other scandals rocking the state administration,
a high-stakes election year, and unprecedented budget shortfalls, this outcome was
unlikely. In each of the next two years a new administration extended coverage to
77,ooo more working parents. In the context of an ever-worsening state fiscal crisis,
this expanded health coverage was equally unlikely. To a significant extent, these out-
comes, like the vignettes above from the FamilyCare campaign, were the result of a
very successful collaboration between community organizations and advocacy
groups.'
Such collaboration can be productive in helping both kinds of organizations reach
shared goals, but it does not routinely happen. The proverbial failure to communi-
cate-to understand each other's views of how to bring about change and of the w av
the world works-commonly prevents collaborative work. In fact, organizers and
lawyers/advocates often work at cross -purposes, butt heads, and frustrate one anoth-
er's efforts.2
John Bouman
Director of Advocacy
IFamilyCare is an initiative on which many and widely varied supporting groups continue to play key roles, Materials
Sargent Shriver National Center  about FamilyCare, including a full list of supporting organizations, are available at www povertylaw org/advocacy/faim-
on Poverty Law               lycare.materials.cfm  In this article I describe one relationship within that wider effort because it contains lessons that
50 E Washington St., Suite 500  may be useful for a successful collaboration between community organizations and lawyers or policy advocates
Chicago, IL 60602
312.263.3830                  21 use the term lawyers/advocates to refer to lawyers and policy advocates interchangeably-legal aid and other pub-
johnbouman@povertylaw.org    lic interest lawyers, nonlawyer advocates, and those who engage in either direct service or policy advocacy
Clearir 1, ...  P  1- r-, -F 0---  1 -. . .  - d  Policy  n  January-February  2005                            583

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