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Resources for Improving Outcomes for Children and Families Through Caseload/Workload Reductions Webinar Presentation to State Liaison Officers July 17,

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Presentation on theme: "Resources for Improving Outcomes for Children and Families Through Caseload/Workload Reductions Webinar Presentation to State Liaison Officers July 17,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Resources for Improving Outcomes for Children and Families Through Caseload/Workload Reductions Webinar Presentation to State Liaison Officers July 17, 2009

2 Goals To explore the connection between reduced caseload/workload and improved child and family outcomes To share State efforts to reduce caseloads and improve practice To introduce resources for further caseload/workload reduction efforts

3 Session Outline Caseload and workload overview Initiating organizational and practice changes which positively impact caseload and workload Making caseload and workload information readily available to States and counties: The Child Welfare Workload Compendium Discussion

4 From a Practice Perspective: Caseload and workload make a difference for children and families Child welfare is a labor-intensive, hands- on service Change happens through relationship Spending time with children and families in order to achieve positive outcomes

5 From a Workforce Perspective: Providing child welfare workers with a manageable client caseload = a necessary ingredient for achieving and maintaining a stable and effective workforce

6 Caseload/workload impacts turnover which impacts kids and families GAO Report (2003): A top challenge to recruitment and retention: high caseloads and workloads Zlotnik, et al (2005): Reasonable workloads impact worker retention APHSA Survey (2005): Reduced caseloads, workloads, and supervisory ratios=most important agency action that CW agencies must take to retain qualified workers and supervisors.

7 From a Systems Perspective: Increasingly States are viewing caseload and workload reduction as tools for improving child and family outcomes Increased worker contact with children and families = better outcomes (CFSR findings)

8 If manageable caseloads and workloads are so important: Why have they been so hard to achieve? Why has information on caseloads and workloads been so elusive? What are States and local jurisdictions doing to address caseload and workload issues?

9 How are States and local jurisdictions addressing caseload and workload issues?* Workload Studies/Analysis Legislation Accreditation Litigation Negotiation * Often combined, may be part of larger systems reform/quality improvement efforts

10 Conducting a workload study as a first step to reducing caseload/workload Determine how much time workers have to actually see children and families Identify the tasks and requirements that could be redirected to others, or done away with, so workers can spend more time with children and families Prompt exploration of how staff can be used more creatively, resources allocated more strategically, unnecessary paper work eliminated, etc, so workers can spend quality time with children and families

11 Legislation Mandates States and local jurisdictions to: Assess workload issues Recommend workload/caseload solutions Meet certain caseload and workload standards Hire new staff and/or reallocate resources to meet standards Report on progress in meeting legislative requirements

12 State example: Delaware 1998: Legislation codified caseload standards for DFS workers and supervisors 2007: Funding for position allocation within State to ensure that caseloads do not exceed standard State strategies include: – Improved hiring processes – Over-hire pool – New employee support – Salary increases for workers with more than 1 year of experience

13 Accreditation States and counties that have been accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children (COA) are required to meet, or come close to meeting, COAs caseload standards, which are similar to CWLAs caseload standards Accredited States include AR, IL, KY, LA, MD (12 counties; 1 city) and WV Accredited counties in CA, CO, FL, KY, NJ, OH, TN and TX

14 Litigation Settlement agreements usually require States to meet certain standards, usually CWLA caseload standards Often require a settlement plan, timeline for meeting standards May also require minimum qualifications for workers (e.g., MSW), supervisor/worker ratios, improved worker training, etc.

15 State example: Connecticut Caseload requirements outlined in Juan v. Rell (2008) which includes an action plan for addressing key components of case practice related to meeting childrens needs State designed outcomes measures similar to CFSRs to help address its goal of reducing caseloads Since implementation, CT has been able to: Meet caseload standard by 100% and maintain caseloads at this level for 14 consecutive quarters Maintain monthly worker-to-child visits Achieve compliance with its outcome measures Show overall improvement in achieving safety, permanency, and well-being

16 State example: New Jersey Modified Settlement Agreement required caseload reductions Reform efforts included – Adoption of a case practice model which identified family engagement as a core strategy – Improvements in infrastructure – Lowered caseloads – Improved training programs for workers and supervisors During 2007 NJ met or exceeded caseload and training targets and supervisor to worker ratios Reduction in caseloads conducive to moving forward with case practice model and other reform efforts

17 Negotiation Unions representing child welfare workers have played an important role in negotiating caseload ratios that meet, or come close to meeting CWLA standards. Often, unions advocate for ratios that are already in place through legislation, consent decrees, or court settlements, but are not being implemented due to funding limitations or competing priorities.

18 Broad strategies for addressing caseload/workload issues: Hiring additional staff Increasing worker effectiveness Reducing caseloads through program or practice changes Instituting agencywide/systemwide reform

19 Indiana: Instituting organizational and practice changes which positively impact caseloads and outcomes Establishment of new Childrens Department Legislation mandates CPS caseloads of 12 (investigation) and 17 (ongoing) Major organizational reforms include – Hiring and keeping workers – Defining an evidence based practice model – Identifying specific practice indicators – Reorganizing the organizational and field structure – Partnering closely with HR and Training in the overall transformation process

20 Child Welfare Information Gateway Connects professionals and the public to practical, timely, and essential information. Provides information services and resources to State and local agencies to support them in: Improving direct services Improving organizational effectiveness Improving outcomes for children, youth, and families

21 Child Welfare Workload Compendium To make caseload/workload information readily available to States and counties To provide public child welfare managers and administrators with new tools and resources for workload management To raise the visibility of State/county efforts to reduce caseloads/workloads



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