Child Welfare

Child Welfare



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Session Title: Understanding How and Why Child Welfare Systems Change: The Five Year Evaluation of Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care
Multipaper Session 833 to be held in Panzacola Section F2 on Saturday, Nov 14, 1:40 PM to 3:10 PM
Sponsored by the Human Services Evaluation TIG and the Systems in Evaluation TIG
Chair(s):
Janet Griffith, ICF International, jgriffith@icfi.com
Abstract: Beginning in 2003, the Children's Bureau launched a demonstration project to examine the utility of systems of care principles within the context of a child welfare agency. Systems of care principles have previously been applied in the mental health arena and have been a means of engaging youth and families, together with service providers, in changing approaches to care. In the current project, Children's Bureau has focused on the impact of the principles on agency culture, family and community engagement and overall systems change. Nine grantees serving 18 communities participated in the five-year project. Using a multi-methods approach, the evaluation undertook five studies to examine the impact and outcomes of the demonstration project. The evaluation provides insights into the complexity of addressing issues of systems change and implementation of principles that focus on infrastructure change, accountability, cultural competence and family involvement. Three of the studies will be presented in this multi-paper presentation.
Small Wins Big Steps: Analysis of Critical Events Contributing to the Implementation of Systems of Care in Child Welfare
Yvette Lamb, ICF International, ylamb@icfi.com
Gary DeCarolis, National Training and Technical Assistance Center, gary@centerforcommunityleadership.com
Caitlin Murphy, ICF International, cmurphy@icfi.com
Raymond Crowel, ICF International, rcrowel@icfi.com
This paper identifies how systems change evolved in each of the 18 participating child welfare agencies. An in-depth analysis shows the importance of local contextual conditions and events as they affect the direction, pace, and success of system change in child welfare. For instance, while systems of care has been implemented in the field of mental health for over two decades, the application of this principle-guided systems change framework is new to child welfare. The implementation of systems of care in this field encountered unique challenges, such as appropriately addressing the principle of family involvement as well as dealing with critical events like a child death or change in agency leadership and priorities. The process of capturing and analyzing critical incidents will be presented. Both promising practices and barriers to successful systems change in child welfare and the small, but often meaningful wins and events needed to create and sustain change will be highlighted.
The Importance of Agency Context in Organizational Improvement Initiatives
Dan Cantillon, ICF International, dcantillon@icfi.com
Jing Sun, ICF International, jsun@icfi.com
Raymond Crowel, ICF International, rcrowel@icfi.com
Findings regarding the influence of organizational context on the implementation of a principle-based systems change framework (i.e., system of care) will be provided. Using survey data collected from direct service child welfare workers, this evaluation employed structural equation modeling to model and understand how critical agency contextual variables, such as organizational culture and organizational climate, impacted the level of agency support and caseworker implementation of systems of care principles (interagency collaboration, family involvement, individualized and strengths-based, community-based, cultural competence, and accountability). Additionally, this paper will discuss how organizational readiness affected organizational and systems change activities and efforts.
Context, Capacity and Culture: An In-depth Examination of Systems of Care Principles Through Site-Based Case Studies
Aracelis Gray, ICF International, agray@icfi.com
Nicole Bossard, National Training and Technical Assistance Center, nbossard@icfi.com
Yvette Lamb, ICF International, ylamb@icfi.com
Site-based case studies were conducted in two grantee sites participating in the Children's Bureau Systems of Care in Child Welfare demonstration project. These two grantees represent four demographically diverse communities. Analysis included an examination of contextual variables that affect implementation as well as internal and external organizational capacity to create the infrastructure needed to support the dynamics of systems change across child serving agencies. These agencies include Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, Education, Mental Health and other private community providers. Findings point to the complexity of context in implementing systems change. For example, economic and leadership chang
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