Community Action Network (CAN) Coordinators play a critical role in convening partner organizations and community members to work together to strengthen the local service system.  

A CAN is a formally organized partnership of agencies, community-based organizations, and community members that work together to achieve common goals for community betterment, and to coordinate services to improve health outcomes for all community residents.

All Healthy Start programs are involved in Community Action Networks (CANs). They may establish and lead the CAN or participate in a CAN led by another agency. A CAN:

  • Is a forum for the community voice in efforts to improve the health of infants, mothers, and families
  • Mobilizes health care, social service providers, and others to integrate services and address social determinants of health
  • May be called a “coalition” or “consortium” or “local action network”

Image of people jumping with words "we CAN" and word bubbles: community members, FIMR, community health centers & hospitals, Title V Program, behavioral health providers, faith-based organizations, WIC, housing & food assistance, local health department, schools

Collective Impact is “a disciplined, cross-sector approach to solving complex social and environmental issues on a large scale.” * For more information and resources to utilize a collective impact approach in working with your CAN, visit the Collective Impact Implementation Tool Box for Healthy Start.

*John Kania and Mark Kramer, FSG: Social Impact Consultants


Check out the videos below to hear about Healthy Start CANs.

Watch this video to learn about a Community Action Network in Boston, MA. Participants and staff members from the Boston Healthy Start Initiative play a leadership role and are active members of this CAN. (1 min)