Visionary Director Molly McGrath Tierneyand her committed staff were charged with improving the performance of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services (BCDSS). First exposed to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's approach to leadership development in 2001 when she was selected as a Casey Children and Family Fellow, McGrath sought leadership development for her senior staff to gain the skills needed to improve the agency's results.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation developed a comprehensive portfolio of programs to give leaders - like McGrath - the skills and tools they need to move from "talk" to "action" when it comes to improving outcomes for children and families. The key: results-based leadership programs. Participants are able to work on real issues in real time, build collaborative relationships and hone their ability to use data to develop action plans and measure progress.
At the BCDSS, between 2007 and 2010 the number of childre: (1) in foster care dropped 28%; (2) placed in group homes dropped 71%; (3) awaiting adoption dropped 57%; (4) annual adoptions rose 59%; and (5) with permanent families rose 47%.
Through Results-Based Accountability, McGrath's staff learned how to focus on results; reduce cultural, racial, and class disparities; understand how to use strengths to improve results; and feel empowered to lead from any position.
Director Molly McGrath her staff changed the culture, practices, and results of an agency that oversees 60% of the children in Maryland’s child welfare system.
Public, nonprofit, private, and community-based organizations can all benefit from leadership development programs offered by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Statements & Quotations
As the progress in Baltimore demonstrates, leadership is a powerful lever for change. The impressive results achieved by the Baltimore City DSS team under Molly's leadership show that it's possible to reform vital yet complicated child-serving public systems such as child welfare. This kind of thoughtful, sustained, and courageous leadership is critical to improving outcomes for the children and families these systems serve.
– Patrick McCarthy, President and CEO of the Casey Foundation
Having a strong leader at the helm is an important start. But the sustainability of large public systems change relies on the painstaking work of leaders 'in the middle' who are there day after day, year after year.
– -Jennifer Gross, Senior Associate with the Talent Management/Leadership Development unit of the Casey Foundation