Session: The Use of Data for Self-Evaluation and Continuous Quality Improvement in Child Welfare Programs (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

10 The Use of Data for Self-Evaluation and Continuous Quality Improvement in Child Welfare Programs

Thursday, January 17, 2019: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Union Square 23/24 Tower 3, 4th Floor (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Child Welfare (CW)
Berenice Rushovich, MSW, Child Trends Inc, Amanda Neace, MA, Jasper County Children's Division and Sarah Bolick, MSW, Catawba County Department of Social Services
Child protective services is charged with working at the intersection of protecting children from harm, while also promoting their well-being and placement stability. Workers also need to balance family preservation and building parents' capacity to care for their children safely. To fulfill this mandate, agencies implement programs that show the most promise. Implementing a new program in an existing service system is a complicated and iterative process. Program implementation happens in stages, from exploration, to installation, to initial implementation, and then to full implementation. To ensure a program continues to be implemented optimally and with a high degree of fidelity to the conceptual model, a strong culture of self-evaluation and continuous quality improvement (CQI) needs to be in place, both at the individual level and at the agency level. This is as true at the initial stages of implementation as it is when the program is fully implemented. During this round table, one practitioner will discuss a program that is in the early stages of implementation, how data is being used to identify trends in practice, and areas where improvements are needed. The discussion will focus on the Team Decision Making (TDM) model, used to assist child welfare workers in making the difficult decision to remove a child from their home after a report of maltreatment, as well as to engage family members, youth, and supportive community members in the decision-making process. There are many points at which a culture of self-evaluation and the use of data enhance the efficacy of TDM. This includes whether the meeting is held at the right time (prior to removing the child from the home), if the appropriate people are at the table (e.g., fathers), how supported workers feel in the decision-making process, and the extent to which meeting participants are engaged. A second program staff member will discuss a well-established program with an embedded culture of CQI: Success Coach (SC). SC provides supportive services to parents whose children were removed due to maltreatment, and were subsequently returned home. This presenter will discuss how Success Coach uses a program review process to regularly present and discuss data, and encourage workers to consider trends in practice and areas that may need improvement. An evaluator will discuss the use of data in outcome evaluation, and how evaluators can tailor their data collection processes to support the CQI and self-evaluation. Attendees will hear examples of the use of data both in the initial phase of implementation, as well as in the later phase. The roundtable will begin a dialogue about the importance of CQI and self-evaluation in child welfare practice. We hope to stimulate discussion that will promote understanding of the value of collecting data, and ways to engage workers and leadership in using data for self-evaluation and CQI.

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