Foundation Announces New Human Services Frontline Practice Strategy

Posted June 26, 2012
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Newsreleases frontlinepracticereform 2012

The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion announced today that it will dis­con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing direct ser­vices through Casey Fam­i­ly Ser­vices in order to shift to a grant­mak­ing strat­e­gy that will help hun­dreds of fos­ter care and oth­er non­prof­it human ser­vices agen­cies adopt inno­v­a­tive, proven approach­es to improve child wel­fare practices.

By rede­ploy­ing these resources to invest in improv­ing the prac­tice of a diverse set of non­prof­it providers instead of its own agency, the Foun­da­tion will have the poten­tial to impact thou­sands of chil­dren and fam­i­lies, far beyond those cur­rent­ly served, and help to advance stronger prac­tices across the field in general.

Found­ed in 1976, Casey Fam­i­ly Ser­vices (CFS), head­quar­tered in New Haven, Conn., pro­vid­ed high qual­i­ty fos­ter care ser­vices to chil­dren under state con­tracts in Mary­land, Con­necti­cut, Maine, Mass­a­chu­setts, New Hamp­shire, Rhode Island and Ver­mont. CFS helped stim­u­late the emer­gence of many oth­er qual­i­ty providers and helped build the Foundation’s knowl­edge about how to sup­port effec­tive front­line prac­tices for the most frag­ile fam­i­lies. CFS has been a leader in the field’s move­ment toward find­ing per­ma­nent fam­i­lies for youth in fos­ter care. The agency has also excelled in serv­ing old­er youth and high-needs chil­dren through effec­tive recruit­ment of sta­ble, nur­tur­ing fos­ter fam­i­lies, by pro­vid­ing inten­sive coun­sel­ing and oth­er sup­ports, and through care­ful plan­ning to tran­si­tion these youth to adult­hood. The Foundation’s new strat­e­gy will help take these lessons to a broad­er scale and spread the kinds of best prac­tices that CFS has demon­strat­ed and cham­pi­oned for 36 years.

Through­out this tran­si­tion, the Foun­da­tion is com­mit­ted to work­ing with states to meet their ser­vice needs and ensure the sta­bil­i­ty of the chil­dren and fam­i­lies in its care. We will tran­si­tion the major­i­ty of these chil­dren and their fos­ter fam­i­lies to oth­er providers with capac­i­ty by Decem­ber 31, 2012, but the agency will remain open until June 30, 2013 with a small staff to sup­port any cas­es that need addi­tion­al time to tran­si­tion. We are pro­vid­ing the 280 employ­ees affect­ed by this deci­sion with resources and sup­port as they pur­sue new employ­ment, fur­ther edu­ca­tion or retirement.

The Foun­da­tion plans to exe­cute its new front­line human ser­vices strat­e­gy through part­ner­ships with pre­mier free-stand­ing provider agen­cies, with the goal of help­ing them to devel­op and/​or scale up proven mod­els. We will also help increase adop­tion of effec­tive prac­tice by build­ing aware­ness, pro­vid­ing edu­ca­tion and tech­ni­cal assis­tance, and sup­port­ing efforts to ensure pub­lic fund­ing sup­ports these prac­tices at the fed­er­al and state lev­el. Addi­tion­al grants will go toward devel­op­ing hands-on, user friend­ly mate­ri­als and tools that lever­age the accu­mu­lat­ed knowl­edge of direct ser­vice providers and the exper­tise of Foun­da­tion staff. While these part­ner­ships will begin with child wel­fare providers, the Foun­da­tion plans to expand to providers in oth­er human ser­vice fields such as juve­nile jus­tice, men­tal health, com­mu­ni­ty change, sub­stance abuse and work­force development.

This new approach to prac­tice reform com­ple­ments the Foundation’s exist­ing strate­gies to work with state and local gov­ern­ments to improve sys­tems and poli­cies that sup­port at-risk fam­i­lies. The Foundation’s work includes strate­gic con­sult­ing with states, advanc­ing the use of evi­dence based prac­tices in pub­lic sys­tems, devel­op­ing infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy to improve case man­age­ment and data analy­sis, and pol­i­cy advo­ca­cy to insti­tu­tion­al­ize and scale what works. The com­bi­na­tion of improve­ments at the sys­tem and provider lev­el has the poten­tial to yield sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits to a greater num­ber of families.

The deci­sion to change our strat­e­gy to focus on help­ing non­prof­it human ser­vices agen­cies improve their ser­vice to fam­i­lies instead of oper­at­ing our own fos­ter care agency is a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone in our organization’s his­to­ry,” said Patrick T. McCarthy, trustee and pres­i­dent and CEO of the Casey Foun­da­tion. As the human ser­vices envi­ron­ment changes, we see an oppor­tu­ni­ty to help strength­en the work of front­line staff who often make life and death deci­sions on behalf of vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren and fam­i­lies. We are proud of the con­tri­bu­tions Casey Fam­i­ly Ser­vices has made in sup­port­ing fam­i­lies, work­ing with fos­ter par­ents, col­lab­o­rat­ing with pub­lic agen­cies and pro­vid­ing out­stand­ing care to chil­dren. This suc­cess is due to a skilled and ded­i­cat­ed staff and we deeply regret the impact this tran­si­tion will have on them. We will hon­or the lega­cy of CFS and its peo­ple by con­tin­u­ing to work dili­gent­ly to build bet­ter futures for chil­dren and fam­i­lies across the country.”

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