Strategies for Success

Strategies & Support
Over the years, working with jurisdictions to help them better serve people, CSF has designed and helped implement many strategies for success. We are dedicated to promoting evidence based best practice and keeping up with successful initiatives in the fields of child support and child welfare. Most recently we have provided assistance and help in designing strategies and providing support in launching programs using leading edge technologies and models. Among these are:

                    CSF’s overarching strategy for helping State and local child welfare improvements relies on an integrated approach to making systemic changes.  Our philosophy is that effective child welfare practice in the field is key to improving outcomes, and that the organization must be structured in ways that support consistently effective practice, expectations, and outcomes.  Using training and coaching techniques that focus on adult learning styles and application of learning, implementation science principles and practices that help to ensure successful implementation strategies, and data to drive and inform decision-making, CSF helps child welfare agencies build sustainable improvements in their programs.  Integration of efforts helps ensure that effective practices in the field are supported and reinforced through monitoring, leadership, teaming structures, use of data, contracting, and continuous quality improvement activities.  The attached Improving Outcomes for Children and Families in Child Welfare describes CSF’s integrated approach to improving child welfare. 
 
  • recognized implementation science principles
  • use of predictive analytics
  • assessment of programs for program improvement
  • training models that promote better performance
  • outreach and recruitment of resources and stakeholders

Using these as a foundation we have researched promising practices; integrated requirements and goals with strategies; created implementation plans and monitoring processes, and supported installation of strategies for success.
Below we highlight some of our most recent and relevant child welfare and child support strategies for success.
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Child Welfare Practice Model Development and Implementation:

CSF is actively involved with the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) and the Michigan Department of Human Services to assist in developing (in MS) and enhancing (in MI) comprehensive child welfare practice models that guide staff’s work in the field. In both States, the practice models are designed to assist the States in meeting requirements of statewide settlement agreements resulting from class action lawsuits while simultaneously providing a consistent framework in which social workers interact with and serve children and families.  CSF’s work has included collaborating with the States to identify key practices and principles that the States desire to guide their work with children and families, operationalize the practices and principles into measureable/doable day-to-day activities, design implementation strategies that assist the States in putting the practice models into place in ways that are supported by implementation research, identifying and helping to design data reports and other measures, including fidelity measures related to the practice models, that will allow the States to monitor progress and implementation activities, train and coach staff to put the practice models into place in the States, and develop and implement viable local and statewide teaming structures needed to guide, inform, and monitor design and implementation activities.

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Continuous Quality Improvement in Child Welfare:

CSF has worked extensively to assist States in designing and implementing Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) processes and activities in child welfare that support ongoing improvements in services and outcomes to children and families.  For example, in both Mississippi and Michigan, CSF has assisted the States in designing CQI activities that support and reflect the States’ child welfare practice models, and that are integrated into the States’ business and leadership structures.  CSF assists in designing case review activities and instruments, developing plans for implementing CQI activities, training and coaching CQI staff in carrying out their roles in the field, assisting in designing data and summary reports that are used in CQI, and helping to establish the administrative structures needed to support CQI over time.  In addition to State-specific CQI work, CSF was a partner with JBS International, Inc. in developing and implementing a national CQI Training Academy, funded by the Children’s Bureau, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, to provide training and coaching to CQI managers nation-wide using a systematic problem-solving approach.

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Child Support
Long recognized as a leader in the child support program, CSF staff have a wide range of skills from policy analysis to direct operations. We combine excellent consulting with real world experience to provide our partners with quality products focused on program improvement.

Commonwealth of Virginia Paternity Establishment Program
The Center for the Support of Families (CSF) is a nationally-known leader in the child support program in the area of establishing paternity for children born outside of marriage. Our public awareness, strategies for success, and training and outreach campaigns are designed to reach targeted population segments. We have a proven track record of developing effective outreach campaigns for various demographic audiences, and understand how to reach both urban and rural communities through a combination of media, direct outreach, and networking.

The number of new paternity acknowledgments signed each year directly affects how well a State Child Support Program meets the federal performance requirements for paternity establishment, which directly affects the Program’s federal funding.
In early 2008, CSF was awarded the Virginia Paternity Establishment Program contract. CSF has increased performance and breathed new life into Virginia’s Paternity Establishment Program through a wide array of successful strategies:

  • We expanded training and outreach to new groups in and around the state; and provided more targeted educational materials to new parents, groups that work with new parents, as well as the general public.
  • We provided regional training to local Departments of Health and Departments of Social Services around the state and visited organizations and offices that work closely with new and expectant parents.
  • We developed a public relations campaign providing a bilingual PEP Web site for the public, and face-to-face networking with a variety of groups who talk to and work with new and expectant parents.
  • We worked closely with the Office of Vital Records to make sure that all Acknowledgments of Paternity received and accepted by that office have been imaged in our document database.

Through a unique database solution, we provide instant access to imaged documents to all authorized users. We introduced “Spotlight” and “PEP Rally” incentive programs for birthing hospital staff to continuously provide motivation and renewed commitment.

Policy Analysis
A strong, comprehensive set of statutes and policy for the child support program is key to program success. The Child Support Bureau of the Indiana Department of Child Services and the Tennessee Department of Human Services Child Support Services Bureau has engaged CSF to analyze existing State statutes and policies related to child support. The purpose is a comparison to ensure that all Indiana and Tennessee child support statutes explicitly met federal IV-D requirements for child support.
CSF assigned a team of attorneys to the review, all of whom have a comprehensive understanding of federal requirements for child support. The CSF team reviewed many provisions of the Indiana and Tennessee Code governing both Title IV-D and Non-IV-D child support cases. As a result of its legislative review, the CSF team prepared a number of templates focusing on various federal child support requirements based upon the likelihood that proposed legislation would improve the States’ performance on one or more of the five federal performance areas: paternity establishment, support order establishment; current collections; arrearage collections and cost effectiveness. In Indiana, the proposed legislation was introduced by the Governor’s Office to the Indiana Legislature and passed into law in March, 2010. The legislation was mentioned in the Governor’s State of the State address as one of the hallmarks of the State’s legislative accomplishments. In Tennessee, the research is on-going identifying where best practices from other states could be implemented through a more flexible interpretation of existing legislation, or through amendments to existing legislation.

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