The Full Frame Approach is a set of principles and practices that our research has found to be the key elements shared by organizations most effective in working with highly marginalized people — people experiencing multiple challenges (e.g., homelessness, addiction, abuse, mental illness, etc.) in a context of entrenched poverty and violence. The principles below are excerpted from The Full Frame Approach 2.0: Place + Approach + Leadership.
Principles of The Full Frame Approach
Principle 1: Life is messy: People’s vulnerabilities and strengths—both personal and contextual—interact in complex and unexpected ways, such that the interplay among issues and context needs to be addressed in concert with the issues themselves.
Principle 2: Friends and family matter: Relationships and role definitions are central for all of us and therefore need to be honored and respected, whether they are causing difficulties, providing support, or some of each.
Principle 3: Through thick and thin and difference: Supporting individuals and communities in envisioning, attempting and realizing new possibilities requires starting with and respecting what matters to people, and then relentlessly sticking with them.
Principle 4: Be a community within the community, not an alternative to the larger community: The human need to feel part of something where one can have impact and legacy is universal and is a necessary element in personal and community growth and sustained change. Full Frame Interventions are a community in addition to others in people’s lives, rather than requiring people leave their community to participate.
Principle 5: Place matters: Organizational history is informed by and intertwined with that of an organization’s community, and its ability to impact individuals and families requires it be a force for good in the larger community, bridging to and building resources that benefit those who may never participate in the organization.
Principle 6: Some of the best work happens in the gray areas: Hold complexity without being paralyzed by it.
Principle 7: Change is good: Continually learn and evolve in concert with changes and opportunities in the community, in every relationship with participants, and in how participants and the organization and the community interact.
Principle 8: It only works with the right people working: Carefully select and support staff because this work is not for everyone and not everyone can or should do this work. Even the right people need tremendous support to do this work.
Principle 9: Be accountable: Pay attention to a wide range of indicators to ensure that the work being done is generating real, sustained results.
Principle 10: Leadership matters: Continuously foster and exert leadership, within the organization and the community.