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Making Informed Decisions MCWIC Tribal Gathering Tama, Iowa August 27-28, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Making Informed Decisions MCWIC Tribal Gathering Tama, Iowa August 27-28, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making Informed Decisions MCWIC Tribal Gathering Tama, Iowa August 27-28, 2009

2  How Many Children are in Care Today? Last Year?  Number of Licensed Foster Homes?  Total Number of CA/N Reports Last Month?  How Many Were Substantiated Last Year?  Children with Multiple CA/N Reports?  How Many Tribal Children are in State Custody? – ICWA Compliance?  How Many Children were Returned Home?

3  Informs practice--data should reflect the client’s experiences through contact with the agency.  Allows the agency to document actions taken and services provided to children and families.  Ultimately allows the agency to determine the impact/outcome of services to the client.  Permits the agency to proactively plan for the future.

4  It provides the ability to validate that change is needed in policy and/or practice. Example: The number of open child abuse/neglect reports is increasing to the point where each worker has 35 open cases. What change is needed?

5  It provides the ability to track and monitor all children and families served by the agency.  Where are the children in foster care placed?  What types of services are being provided to their parents through the treatment plan?  Of the currently licensed foster homes, how many are new this year? How many didn’t renew their licenses? Why?  What percentage of the children are in State custody? When is the next Permanency Hearing? Is the ICWA worker scheduled to attend?

6  Gives the ability to create specific reports to access information that helps monitor/manage specific areas of need. Manager: “How many children in foster care need a higher level of care? Do we need to give foster parents additional training?”

7  Data can help answer the following training questions:  Who needs to be trained?– Supervisors, line workers, support staff, others? New workers?  What kind of training do they need? – Different curriculum for each?  Where shall we train? – Training Lab, Office, Remote (self taught), University?  When do we train? – During Normal office hours, Nights, Weekends? How often?  Why – Improved Outcomes for Children and Families!

8  The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Public Law ), was signed into law by the President on October 7,  The law provides federally-recognized Indian Tribes with the option to apply to operate a title IV-E program and seek Federal reimbursement of a share of allowable Tribal expenditures made pursuant to an approved title IV-E plan.

9  As specified by the law, the IV-E requirements apply to Indian Tribes in the same manner as they apply to States…. an Indian Tribe wishing to operate its own title IV-E program must adhere to the following requirements….  Mandatory Title IV-E Requirements (8)  Section 479 of the Act and regulations at 45 CFR and (b) require title IV-E agencies to report data to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) as a condition of the title IV-E plan.

10  Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS)  Don’t Worry, it isn’t a system, it’s just a report!  Requires case-level data on children in foster care, and children who were placed for adoption and on those who receive adoption assistance.  66 data elements on every child in foster care, and 37 data elements for every child adopted.  Reported two times a year.

11  How Many Children in Care, Today?  How Many Children in Care, Last Year?  Number of Licensed Foster Homes?  Number of CA/N Reports Last Month?  How Many Were Substantiated, Last Year?  Children with Multiple CA/N Reports?  How Many Tribal Children are in State Custody? – ICWA Compliance?  How Many Children were Returned Home?

12  How Many Children in Care, Today? - 17  How Many Children in Care, Last Year? - 46  Number of Licensed Foster Homes? - 31  Number of CA/N Reports Last Month? - 8  How Many Were Substantiated, Last Year? - 22  Children with Multiple CA/N Reports? - 17  How Many Tribal Children are in State Custody? – ICWA Compliance? – 47%, No  How Many Children were Returned Home? - 9

13 Definition: A structured method to collect, store, retrieve, and manage information.

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16  Benefits  Costs  Political Climate  Change Management  Training  Policy Development and Consistent Application of Policy  System of Record  Sustainability

17  Information possibilities!!  More, new, better, timely, and consistent.  Readily available to those who need it.  Can actually be more secure (than paper), and limited to those with a need to know.  New Abilities!!  To measure/improve outcomes for children and families.  Ability to manage effectively by using all the information.  Ability to meet Federal, State, BIA, or Tribal reporting requirements.

18  Initial equipment purchase  Initial software purchase  Software customization  Software license and maintenance  Training, training, and more training  Data conversion from old system (automated or paper)  Requirements development  Policy development

19  Is funding available for initial purchase, and all future maintenance needs?  Do you have, or are you willing to develop policy that supports the business rules in the system?  Are you willing to make decisions based on what the information in your system tells you?  How willing are your staff to conform to using a system?

20  "It's easiest to ride a horse in the direction it is going." In other words, don't struggle against change; learn to use it to your advantage.  Change management, or the lack of, is always the most overlooked aspect of system implementation.  “Managing change” refers to making changes in a planned and managed or systematic fashion.

21  Awareness – of why the change is needed  Desire – to support and participate in the change  Knowledge – of how to change  Ability – to implement new skills and behaviors  Reinforcement – to sustain the change

22  Every system has built in “rules.” These rules generally monitor, prompt, or require a user to perform a function, enter information, or prohibit the same.  Likewise, Agencies generally have written policy that dictates a certain “practice model.”  In order for a “system” to work there must be developed policy (standards), and the system rules must be consistent with policy.

23  A continuation of policy and its consistent application.  If it isn’t in the system, it didn’t happen.  Opportunity to guide, monitor, require, and enforce certain actions that reflect written policy.

24 Putting all the Pieces Together!

25 THIS?OR THIS? Which example is easier to share with decision makers and stakeholders?

26  With so many competing needs, it is important to be as clear as you can about why a “system” is needed and what it is expected to accomplish.  Are you trying to meet the performance and reporting requirements of funding sources?  Are you trying to help program staff stay on top of their cases, and/or help supervisors better manage resources?  Is your goal to gather research data and/or document participant outcomes?

27  Who will use the System?  How often will it be used?  What will it be used for?  How big are caseloads?  What type of support and training is required?

28  Systems can store many different types of data, but they don’t automatically collect it!  When you are deciding what information to collect consider:  Where the information will come from;  How it will be collected;  How often it will be collected;  The quality and integrity of the available data;  And the effort needed to collect it.

29  Technical Architecture  WI-FI  Internet  WAN or LAN

30  Be clear, in any contract, about what the vendor expects from you, and what you expect from the vendor.  Make sure that you understand who “owns” the system (software code).

31  A common saying in this line of work is that “a system is never completed.”  We don’t all think alike. It is often difficult to get programmers to understand users needs.

32  Strong Team  Need to have a strong champion at the executive leadership level to drive the project.  Need to have a proficient programmatic lead who can make decisions on behalf of program. IT should work at direction of and in support of program, otherwise you get an automated system which does not meet programmatic needs.  Training  Start training your own IT staff once platform and products have been determined and include them in the project, so that they are planning for implementation and maintenance of the system.  Whatever you plan for training of user staff - double it.

33  Communication  Keep communication flowing constantly.  Keep users involved at every point in the process.  Keep executive leadership informed on a regular basis. You will need more resources and will need a top manager to support your requests.  Keep federal partners informed.  Submit regular communications to all staff on project progress.  Consider adding program subject matter experts to your IT staff to serve as liaisons between program and technical.

34  Reality  Do not sell the system as an answer to all problems. If you have process issues before automation and do not resolve them, you will just be doing things wrong quicker.  Realize up front that you are re-engineering both programmatic jobs and technical jobs. Do not turn everything over to a contractor, as you will not be able to maintain the monster you have created.  Whatever you initially plan for expenditures for the system will not be enough.

35  More Reality  Manage expectations on the system. For example, your new system will not reduce the need for technical staff - it will definitely require new skill sets.  Plan on losing some technical and programmatic staff after implementation - some will not be able to adjust to the use of new technology - some IT staff prefer to work on a project rather than ongoing maintenance.

36 In conclusion… Never forget why you are taking this journey in the first place… to affect positive outcomes for children and families

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