NCCD Now: Delaware Initiative Uses Integrated Approach to Improve Outcomes for Children
April 1, 2013 | Shannon Flasch, Associate Director, NCCD
At the NCCD Children’s Research Center (CRC), we have been working over the past several years to integrate Structured Decision Making® (SDM) assessments for child protection into a comprehensive practice framework. In 2011, we found a strong partner for this work in the State of Delaware.
At the NCCD Children’s Research Center (CRC), we have been working over the past several years to integrate Structured Decision Making® (SDM) assessments for child protection into a comprehensive practice framework. In 2011, we found a strong partner for this work in the State of Delaware. Our collaboration started as a project to develop SDM® assessments for intake and investigations, and quickly grew to a conversation about other strategies to improve outcomes for children and families in Delaware.
We were fortunate that Delaware had begun a partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation to examine their practices and identify areas for improvement. Under the banner of Outcomes Matter!, this group of reforms has affected all areas of programming at the Department of Services to Children, Youth, and Their Families (DSCYF).
As part of this push forward, Delaware decided to implement the SDM assessments they had developed in collaboration with CRC as part of a fully integrated practice model. In this initiative, CRC staff trained DSCYF workers and supervisors in the use of SDM assessments to assist in decision making and in family engagement techniques to involve parents and children in identifying and addressing the worries that brought them to the attention of child protection. In February 2013, DSCYF workers started using SDM assessments; 45 early adopters from DSCYF and their differential response partner agency, Children and Families First (CFF), were trained in the integrated practice model and started using techniques such as solution-focused questions, harm and danger statements, and a drawing exercise for children called the Three Houses to better engage families in attending to their children’s safety and well-being. Throughout this year, staff at DSCYF and CFF will receive additional training and coaching to develop and deepen their practice skills.
In this month’s blog series, different people from the Outcomes Matter! initiative will share their experiences to keep children in Delaware safe and with their families whenever possible.
Click here to read our guest blog on the implementation of the SDM system in Delaware by Dr. Vicky Kelly, Director of the Delaware Division of Family Services in the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Families.
To read our guest blog on implementing a differential response system in the Delaware child welfare system by Rob Sawyer, a child welfare consultant with the National Resource Center for In-Home Services, click here.
Click here to read more about the child welfare work being done in Delaware by guest blogger Tracey Feild, director of the Child Welfare Strategy Group, a unit within the Center for Systems Innovations of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
This work is supported by the Department of Services to Children, Youth, and Their Families; the Jessie Ball duPont Fund; and the Longwood Foundation.
Shannon Flasch is an Associate Director at NCCD.