History of the National Peer to Peer (NPTP) ROMA Training and Certification Program

The need to implement a performance-based management system among CAAs and other eligible entities receiving Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) funds has been recognized by OCS and the CSBG Network since the early 1990′s. Efforts to adopt such a system were given impetus by the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993. In addition to developing the Six National Goals, in 1994, the Monitoring and Assessment Task Force identified the comprehensive performance-based ROMA system of management and accountability. In 1998 the CSBG Act was amended, mandating the implementation of a comprehensive performance-based management system across the entire Community Services Network – which system has been identified as “Results-Oriented Management and Accountability,” or ROMA. ROMA has built a strong foundation for continuous program improvement and accountability among State agencies, community action associations, and local entities.

In 1996 ROMA was implemented within the CAA network. It spread throughout the CSBG network with the support of the Office of Community Services and of the training programs currently being utilized nationwide. ROMA incorporates the use of outcomes/results into the administration, management, operation, and evaluation of human services. Local agencies are asked to focus on the achievement of outcomes in addition to the traditional process of counting clients and units of service.

The training was based on curriculum developed by Frederick Richmond, The Center for Applied Management Practices, Inc., known initially as “Managing for Results and Measuring Success: Outcome-Based Management for Human Services (1994-1996).” The curriculum was revised by Richmond, under the direction of the Community Action Association of Pennsylvania (CAAP), to include both Trainer and Participant guides — renamed “Introduction to Results Oriented Management and Accountability for CSBG Eligible Entities.” Mr. Richmond was the primary contractor to the CAAP in the development and implementation of the Pennsylvania training project which became known as the Virtual Outcome College.

CAAP demonstrated its ability to move this training model to a national application in 2000-2001. CAAP’s successful National Peer to Peer (NPtP) Project established a corps of certified trainers in 36 states who conduct training and provide technical assistance to the CAA Network leaders and agency personnel. A network of Mentors and Master Trainers has been developed from the pool of Certified ROMA Trainers, to extend the reach of the training project throughout the country.

Updates to the original curriculum reflect improved understanding of the core principles identified in OCS Information Memorandum 49 (2001) and incorporate feedback from Certified ROMA Trainers from their activities across the country. The curriculum was revised in 2008 as a collaboration between Frederick Richmond, who continues to be a driving force in the project and Dr. Barbara Mooney. Dr. Mooney, who has been involved in project since 1998, has been NPTP Project Director since 2004. The revised curriculum moved to strengthen the use of the ROMA Cycle as a framework for introduction of the key concepts and to a more in-depth introduction to the use of the Logic Model. (Certified Trainers and Candidates have access to the training material v4.4 under the Network Login tab).

New curriculum materials have been added, including “Planning for Results,” co-authored by Julie Jakopic, Creating the Vision, and Dr.  Mooney. The Planning for Results curriculum has been shared with Certified ROMA Trainers and state wide planning teams since 2006.

The primary goal of the project is to train and support Certified Trainers who provide training and technical assistance throughout the country.

Support for Trainers includes curriculum updates and enhancements, In-Service Continuing Education, use of electronic forums and other distance education formats, and regional focus groups. The Community Action Association of Pennsylvania recruits, coordinates and provides training and evaluation to certify individuals to replace and expand the number of Certified Trainers available across the country. The NPtP Project promotes development of State Teams to assist CSBG State offices and Associations in the implementation of ROMA principles and practices.

The National Certified ROMA Trainers, bringing experience and skills from a broad range of backgrounds and CAA network involvement, continue to help state CSBG offices, Community Action Associations, local CAAs and related entities with their transition to performance-based management. The results of the NPtP project to date, as observed and reported by Certified Trainers, include evidence of improved administration, programs, and outcomes as a result of ROMA implementation at all levels of the CSBG network Trainers reported the following indicators of success:

  • Increased use of Six National Goals in planning and implementing strategies

  • Increased ability to relate agency mission to identified strategies and outcomes, at the family, agency and community levels;

  • Improved management of agencies and programs using “results oriented” principles and practices

  • Increased ability to identify outcomes and indicators

  • Increased ability to collect, aggregate and report outcome data

  • Improved ability to work with partners

 

[Adapted from Community Action Association of Pennsylvania; www.roma-nptp.org]