Systemic Barriers to Effecting Governmental Youth Policy: A Case Study of a Failed Collaboration and Its Implications for Public Parks and Recreation


  • Miguel Montiel
  • John Hultsman
  • Sarah Herrin Armistead


At-risk youth, public park and recreation, collaboration, cooperation, local government, social policy.


This paper examines some of the barriers that can arise in large systems-in this instance, a municipal bureaucracy in one of the nation's larger cities-that tend to impede organizational goals and how these barriers implicate and affect public park and recreation agencies. In this case study, we discuss the failure of an interdepartmental committee-in which recreation was a key stakeholder-charged with effecting collaborative efforts among the city's youth serving agencies. We provide some general observations about factors that serve as barriers or facilitators to collaborations, summarize the policy analysis of the city's youth programs and services of which this case study was a part, develop conclusions about the failure of the committee to achieve its goals, and provide recommendations for local governments, in general, and park and recreation departments, in particular, to consider in the interest of developing successful collaborations.





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