What Do Casey Child Welfare Consultants Do?

Posted November 27, 2012
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog whatdocaseychildwelfareconsultantsdo 2012

Today’s child wel­fare lead­ers and agen­cies know chil­dren do best when they are safe and con­nect­ed to their fam­i­lies or oth­er car­ing adults. But what’s the best way for large child wel­fare agen­cies to make that hap­pen? Hav­ing a part­ner can help.

Casey’s Child Wel­fare Strat­e­gy Group (CWSG) pro­vides a wide range of con­sult­ing ser­vices to child wel­fare lead­ers who want to do bet­ter. Our goal is to ensure that chil­dren and fam­i­lies have access to proven, effec­tive pro­grams and ser­vices so they can get back on track with their lives.

The CWSG team includes pro­fes­sion­als with many years of expe­ri­ence in pub­lic and pri­vate chil­dren wel­fare orga­ni­za­tions. Team mem­bers come from a vari­ety of fields, from social work and child wel­fare prac­tice to orga­ni­za­tion­al devel­op­ment and finance. They have been case work­ers, admin­is­tra­tors, finance lead­ers, eval­u­a­tors, train­ers and child wel­fare directors.

CWSG helps child wel­fare lead­ers and their staff cham­pi­on reform. We work close­ly with them to strength­en agency man­age­ment, finances, oper­a­tions, pol­i­cy, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and front­line prac­tice by:

  • Engag­ing fam­i­lies in car­ing for their children,
  • Deliv­er­ing on the promise of safe­ty, child well-being, and per­ma­nent fam­i­lies for chil­dren and youth, and
  • Adopt­ing cost-effec­tive, proven strate­gies that pre­pare chil­dren to reach their potential.

What clients say

We knew we had prob­lems, but we didn’t real­ly under­stand the dimen­sions of the prob­lems, and that’s one of the areas where the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion was crit­i­cal to help­ing us.” – Sen­a­tor Tim Kaine, for­mer Vir­ginia governor

CWSG has been incred­i­bly help­ful as we exam­ine our data, prac­tices and con­tracts and move toward imple­ment­ing best prac­tices. Their team of experts has been cred­i­ble, respon­sive and avail­able on site, and we are excit­ed about the oppor­tu­ni­ties to achieve bet­ter out­comes for the chil­dren and fam­i­lies we serve.” – Shirley Rho­dus, El Paso Coun­ty (Col­orado) child wel­fare administrator

From assess­ment to strat­e­gy devel­op­ment to imple­men­ta­tion of prac­tice inno­va­tions, the Casey Foun­da­tion has been a true part­ner in help­ing us man­age trans­for­ma­tion­al change. With­out that sup­port, we would not have been able to start the tiered inves­ti­ga­tion approach to deal with a record vol­ume of cas­es. Casey’s assess­ment also helped val­i­date the voic­es of young peo­ple, point­ed out oppor­tu­ni­ties to col­lab­o­rate with juve­nile jus­tice and men­tal health sys­tems, and cre­at­ed a state­ment of need we can use to lever­age grant fund­ing to sup­port our prac­tice mod­el.” – Vic­to­ria (Vicky) Kel­ly, direc­tor of the Divi­sion of Fam­i­ly Ser­vices, Delaware Depart­ment of Ser­vices to Chil­dren, Youth and Families

How CWSG works

We work with agen­cies in a vari­ety of ways:

Inten­sive and short-term con­sult­ing engage­ments. Agen­cies work with CWSG for six months to two years to install best prac­tices. We begin with a com­pre­hen­sive assess­ment, move on to strate­gic plan­ning, and con­tin­ue to work close­ly with agen­cies through­out implementation.

Peer-to-peer capac­i­ty build­ing. CWSG brings togeth­er agen­cies to solve prob­lems togeth­er, whether to reduce the num­ber of chil­dren in group place­ments or improve agency data col­lec­tion. We also sup­port oth­er peer-to-peer con­sult­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, such as:

  • Pri­vate provider con­sul­tants. An inno­v­a­tive group of lead­ing pri­vate providers is avail­able to share sto­ries of how they trans­formed their agen­cies from pri­mar­i­ly offer­ing res­i­den­tial ser­vices to chil­dren in child wel­fare to offer­ing a wider array of proven ser­vices in chil­dren’s homes and communities.
  • Judi­cial con­sul­tants. The link between the courts, agen­cies and providers is a cru­cial one; our con­sult­ing judges add depth and judi­cial exper­tise to reform efforts.
  • Strat­e­gy devel­op­ment. The CWSG team focus­es on inno­va­tion. We devel­op, test or refine child wel­fare approach­es, often in col­lab­o­ra­tion with agency partners.

Our strate­gies

Among our strategies:

  • Front-line prac­tice improve­ments and fam­i­ly team­ing solu­tions. We can help agen­cies work more effec­tive­ly with chil­dren and fam­i­lies; keep teens from enter­ing care because of con­flict with their par­ents; and make sure that teens leav­ing fos­ter care have fam­i­ly support.
  • Assess­ing child well-being. Are children’s needs being met by child wel­fare agen­cies and providers? We are test­ing a new tool to find out.
  • Rethink­ing res­i­den­tial place­ments. CWSG works with agen­cies to care for most chil­dren in fam­i­lies, not group settings.
  • Kin­ship pol­i­cy, prac­tice and data tools. We pro­mote revis­ing licens­ing require­ments so more rel­a­tives care for chil­dren when their par­ents cannot.
  • Fos­ter fam­i­ly recruit­ment and sup­port. We help agen­cies imple­ment child-spe­cif­ic and tar­get­ed recruit­ment strate­gies, strength­en fos­ter fam­i­ly train­ing and sup­port and encour­age pos­i­tive rela­tion­ships between birth and fos­ter parents.
  • Provider part­ner­ships. Pub­lic and pri­vate child wel­fare providers can work togeth­er to get good results for chil­dren and families.
  • Out­comes per­for­mance man­age­ment. We can help child wel­fare agen­cies estab­lish per­for­mance and qual­i­ta­tive stan­dards; we also pro­vide train­ing and coach­ing on using data to improve ser­vices designed to help chil­dren and families.
  • Finan­cial rein­vest­mentCWSG helps child wel­fare lead­ers max­i­mize fed­er­al, state and local fund­ing, shift­ing funds from high-cost cri­sis inter­ven­tions to effec­tive, pre­ven­tion-focused services.

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