New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD)
The Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (CWG) worked closely in 2021 and 2022 with CYFD in New Mexico to support the development, training, and implementation of a teaming model for case planning. The New Mexico model calls for an Individualized Planning Process (IPP), which features heightened family engagement and informal and formal supports being utilized to achieve improved outcomes.
The Kevin S. Settlement Agreement (kevinssettlement.com) requires “Individualized planning meetings for each child—a process informed by Child and Family Teaming (CFT), collaborative decision-making, and High-Fidelity Wraparound models”. The model supports the belief that families are the experts who best know their strengths, challenges, and hopes for the future. The model will be a sweeping revision, as the divisions of Protective Services, Juvenile Justice, and Children’s Behavioral Health work to reduce the number of single-purpose meetings with families and use the Individualized Planning Meeting (IPM) to accomplish requirements in one setting.
CWG is on the ground across the state to support training, provide coaching in real-time with families, and develop CYFD-internal capacity to ensure that the model is utilized now and in the future. CWG will continue to support the excellent work in NM until 2023.
Residential Treatment Facility Assessment
CWG’s history and expertise include years of systems and facility evaluations. A large-scale assessment of a Residential Treatment Facility* was conducted in February – March 2020. This project included a review of policy, curriculum, and financial and regulatory reports. Interviews were conducted with youth, staff, family members, and others. Input was received from community partners and prior employees. Surveys were completed by staff and others, which resulted in helpful data collection. The Board of Directors, Administration, and other leaders received reports of findings and recommendations. In addition, findings were discussed with all staff in small – medium group meetings, during which they gave feedback about findings and made recommendations for leadership.
*For more information about this and other residential assessments, please call CWG at 334-264-8300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illinois – Agency Performance Monitoring and Execution Support
In 2022, CWG continues to support the Agency Performance Monitoring and Execution (APME) program, which plays a critical role in monitoring quality in practice and outcomes for children and their families. When direct service utilizes Child and Family Team Meetings (CFTM) in a frequent and quality-focused manner, practice and outcomes for safety, permanency, and well-being will improve. Agency monitoring can have a positive impact on the use of CFTM by reinforcing them as a priority and using a more hands on approach in the participation and coaching of selected CFTM. For this to occur, the Department has utilized CWG as support for APME staff in the CFTM model, with the intent that APME will attend selected CFTM meetings with an agency worker for the purpose of supporting supervisors to coach and reinforce the need for quality CFTM.
In 2020 - 2021, CWG continued to support the ongoing development of Child and Family Team Meetings in Illinois; work was completed virtually. We worked in partnership with the Department of Children and Family Services and the University of Illinois to strengthen the state’s capacity to have meaningful planning opportunities with families through training and coaching, which included virtual support for the design and production of “Master Coach Summits”. One important goal for the partnership is to support the development of ongoing capacity in the state for training and coaching Child and Family Team Meetings.
Oklahoma Department of Human Services
In 2022, consultation is focused on supporting the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Services in its efforts to safely reduce the need for out of home care for children. Specific work includes analysis and interpretation of agency outcome data as a basis for focusing practice, design of leadership approaches for implementation by the agency’s executive team, and strategies for improving rates of attaining safe and timely permanent families for children in foster care.
Miami-Dade County, FL
In 2019, CWG continued to provide Family Engagement/Motivational Interviewing workshops and trainings to newly hired workers on track to become Child Protective Investigators. The purpose of this two-day training is to support the development of the workers’ skills relative to family engagement and to demonstrate motivational interviewing techniques that strengthen the workers’ abilities to assess safety/risk, build a trust-based relationship with families, and reach safety related solutions for children and their families.
Trainees will learn to identify the stages of change and assess which stage the caregiver is experiencing. The training will demonstrate the advantages of motivational interviewing and teach social workers to incorporate change-talk language, decisional balance, and the working agreement into their practice so they can better engage, assess, intervene and plan with families around safety needs and solutions to meet needs.
Allegheny County, PA
A sweeping assessment of the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) was undertaken by the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (CWG) at the request of Governor Eric Holcomb, who asked CWG to:
- Examine the current performance of the child welfare functions of the agency and compare it to generally accepted national practice standards and outcome measures
- Identify prominent strengths and challenges
- Produce recommendations for changes in any areas needing improvement
Assessment activities began in January 2018 around the same time Terry Stigdon, the current Director of DCS, assumed her role.
Many of the recommendations made by CWG have been implemented or are under exploration as the state works to strengthen its child welfare system.
Los Angeles, CA
CWG Executive Director Freida Baker conducted a congregate care review in the fall of 2018 to support assessment and monitoring of the Katie A. lawsuit. CWG founder and former director, Paul Vincent, serves as chair of the Katie A. Advisory and Monitoring Panel in Los Angeles County, California. The Katie A. vs. Bonta lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County on July 18, 2002. The suit called for improved services for children and youth currently in foster care, and those at imminent risk of placement into foster care. Federal District Court Judge A. Howard Matz approved the settlement agreement, which calls for systemic improvements in case planning, mental health and supportive services, and use of congregate and shelter care for youth.
Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Broward County, FL
CWG worked with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, which handles intake and assessment of reports of child abuse and neglect in the County, to direct its efforts toward more effective engagement with families in two high-referral zip code areas. This 2017 project focused on collaboration with community leaders and service providers to address the cultural needs of these locales which are largely communities of color, and to improve individual family engagement and assessment as a basis for safety planning to keep children safely at home or within their extended families.
Philadelphia Department of Health and Human Services
This extensive assessment examined performance in both HHS and ten Community Umbrella Agencies contracted to provide ongoing services to families across the City. CWG was engaged in 2016 by the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia. CWG submitted the final report of our 2017 work to evaluate the “Improving Outcomes for Children” child welfare redesign in the City’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The final report which details the in-depth assessment process, findings, and CWG’s recommendations may be seen here:
Iowa Department of Human Services
In 2019, CWG facilitated 12 “Provider Forums” held across the state. In preparation for implementation of Family First, agency leaders were interested in the unique perspectives of the provider community, and asked CWG to conduct the meetings. Issues ranging from practice philosophy to billing structure were discussed. Importantly, Iowa used the overall CWG report and recommendations as decisions were made about Family First. The report also yielded fresh information about provider strengths, needs, and suggestions.
CWG conducted an assessment of Iowa’s Family Team Decision Making (FTDM) process in 2018, with a particular focus on their facilitation model. As long ago as 2002, CWG assisted the state as they crafted their Family Team Decision Making (FTDM) model which encourages family-focused practice and improved outcomes. CWG’s report yielded findings and recommendations about ways to strengthen the FTDM facilitator’s skills.
CWG completed a targeted review in December 2017 which focused primarily on the intake and child protection assessment functions of the Iowa Department of Human Services. The final report of the initial review may be seen here:
Broward and Palm Beach Counties, Florida
Since 2012 to date, CWG has assisted the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to implement the Qualitative Review Process (QSR). CWG assisted the State in developing its own QSR protocol, train its QA staff in its use, provide coaching to the review team and introduce the process to the initial review counties. Periodically, CWG has assisted the system with inter-rater reliability assessments and coaching.
CWG Senior Associate Cornelius Bird presented Keynote and workshops at the 2018 MITEAM CQI Conference in Lansing.