Process Being Used

The planning process that Manchester has implemented incorporates and integrates three elements - a planning model, an overarching framework, and a key principle - that will ensure the final plan is strength-based, driven by the expertise of both professionals and lay citizens, strategic and focused on all the town’s children, youth and families rather than only those identified as "in-need".

Planning Model

The planning model is based on four basic steps of master planning:

  • Pre-planning;
  • Initiating;
  • Action planning; and
  • Implementation and mobilizing.

The model being used allows for adaptation, ensuring current as well as unforeseen future issues in Manchester are addressed. It also ensures a systematic approach and reduces the tendencies to jump around based on "issues of the day". Using a standard, predictable and sequential planning model is especially important when the process involves large numbers of people who are not familiar with planning. By adhering to these four steps and in this order, the town will increase the likelihood that the resulting recommendations are ones that are well researched and have overwhelming support.


The framework is based on the seven key action areas identified in the National League of Cities' (NLC) Platform for Strengthening Families and Improving Outcomes for Children and Youth. This Platform was developed by the NLC to assist communities as they create the foundation needed to effectively, efficiently, and with sustainability, address the issues of their families and youth. The Platform also focuses on creating a sound infrastructure that will support the implementation of strategies within the following seven key action areas.

  • Early Childhood Development
  • Education and After School Services
  • Health and Safety
  • Youth in Transition
  • Family Economics
  • Neighborhoods and Community
  • Youth Development

The framework also is structured to allow the entire infrastructure that will be needed to support and sustain the long-term implementation of the Plan and its recommendations to be identified. The framework focuses on NLC’s four general areas of infrastructure, which may also need to be adapted to meet the specific needs of Manchester.

  • Policies
  • Structures and organizations
  • Citizen connectivity
  • Measurements

Key Principle

And finally, the planning process’s key principle is inclusiveness. Every citizen of Manchester will have the opportunity to contribute to this Plan. This will be done in a variety of ways, respecting the limitations of citizen participation. We will incorporate:

  • Ongoing committees where citizens will have the opportunity and expectation to delve deeply into an issue;
  • Surveys designed to obtain a broader base of information and insights;
  • A variety of charrettes that allow individuals to explore complex issues in creative and fun ways;
  • Focus groups that bring together a variety of individuals to share opinions and to generate possible solutions;
  • Individual interviews with those who don’t have the time to participate more extensively: and finally,
  • This website which gives citizens 24/7 access to all of the efforts to date and allows them to review and comment at will.

This planning process goes far beyond simply creating a document outlining the status of Manchester’s children, youth and families. It will accomplish this; however, much of the attention focuses on ensuring that the process leading up to the plan is comprehensive and inclusive and that the infrastructure needed to ensure the long-term viability of the plan is in place. The planning model also puts into place a whole new way of addressing and engaging youth and creates a process that brings young people and adults together that will forever improve Manchester.

The planning process will continuously ask everyone within the planning process to measure their efforts against this question, "Are we doing all that we can to ensure that all children, youth and families thrive"? By maintaining the participants focus on this question, we also increase the likelihood that they also focus on:

  • Strength-based solutions;
  • Systems rather than individuals;
  • Proactive rather than reactive recommendations; and,
  • Inclusiveness.