Family First: Readiness Assessment, Planning, and Implementation
Transforming child welfare to achieve better outcomes
Develop Strategic Direction
Chapin Hall partners with jurisdictions to refine and articulate their visions for child welfare transformation, and then develop a corresponding strategic direction. We develop Theory of Change and Logic Models that connect desired outcomes with selected evidence-based strategies. We conduct Family First readiness assessments across the system to identify gaps to address and strategic opportunities to leverage.
Facilitate Stakeholder Engagement
With jurisdictions, we identify internal and external stakeholders whose perspectives are critical for Family First planning and implementation. We design integrated governance structures and identify where and how stakeholders will be engaged. This engagement can be through ongoing implementation teams, or through strategic stakeholder forums and events. We elicit meaningful and focused input from stakeholders across the relevant readiness assessment and planning domains.
Analyze and Visualize Data
Analysis and visuals are essential for building shared understanding of the size and distribution of the population that will be served in Family First. We use an array of strategies to identify who is at greatest risk of entering foster care and who may benefit from evidence-based preventive intervention. These strategies include basic descriptive data, odds ratios, and geospatial mapping.
Conduct Provider Surveys
Family First encourages providers to critically examine their business models and build capacity to provide more preventive and quality practices. To gauge provider readiness, we survey providers about current capacity, ability and openness to adopt new prevention-oriented practices. The primary data from these surveys can be used in conjunction with other data sources to identify service gaps and develop plans to address them.
Develop Prevention Plan
The Family First Prevention Plan integrates assessment and decision-making from all steps in the planning process, articulating an overarching vision for the child welfare system, setting clear goals, and clarifying how families will benefit. Chapin Hall ensures the Prevention Plan tells the story of the transformation ahead and addresses each federal requirement. Chapin Hall provides a national perspective, policy and practice expertise, and structured guidance throughout plan development and the federal plan approval process.
Design Implementation Plan
To ensure success, Chapin Hall guides the jurisdiction in creating a structured implementation plan for the Prevention Plan and other Family First strategies. This includes specific cross-functional tasks, responsible parties, and timeframes. The plan details how implementation requirements will be addressed, and we advise core leaders and an implementation team on the deployment, tracking, and monitoring of the Implementation Plan.
Develop Communication Strategies
We co-design a Family First communication strategy that engages internal and external stakeholders to contribute to the transformation underway. We clarify key messages and integrate them into all communication opportunities. We create specific content for presentations, letters to the field, advocacy, and other stakeholder communications to reinforce Family First opportunities.
Map and Refine Business Processes
The operational implications of Family First implementation are substantial. A detailed understanding of current practice is needed to ensure that policies, procedures, training, IT systems, and other infrastructure can support implementation. Chapin Hall guides business process mapping to build shared understanding of current practice and help stakeholders identify and make operational refinements.
Craft and Align Policy
Chapin Hall uses a customized policy analysis tool to review jurisdictions’ statutes, regulations, and policies for alignment with the desired transformation and Family First policy. We identify options to create the necessary policy structure for effective implementation, and draft policy or create tools that facilitate agencies’ development of policy consistent with best practices and Family First.
Develop Fidelity Monitoring Strategies
Evidence-based interventions must be delivered in accordance with protocols and practice manuals. While many practices include fidelity measurement tools, Chapin Hall works to integrate existing or new fidelity monitoring strategies into standard practice by recommending and supporting refinements to workflows, business processes, communication, training, and technology.
Design and Execute Rigorous Evaluations
In partnership with program leadership and other stakeholders, Chapin Hall creates and implements evaluation plans that include:
- Appropriate and meaningful research questions that assess if practices are being implemented as intended, impacting relevant child and family outcomes, and achieving other desired program objectives
- Evaluation designs that are rigorous and align with the research questions
- Appropriate sample sizes, data collection methods and analytic strategies
- Opportunities to integrate with concurrent Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) strategies and ensure that findings are shared with the jurisdiction in ways that are timely and support decision-making
- Alignment with the standards of the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse, provided the jurisdictional partners have the capacity to invest in evaluation efforts that meet this criteria
Develop Continuous Improvement Processes
Chapin Hall assesses the scope and functioning of existing CQI processes related to evidence-based programs, residential care, and other relevant areas to Family First. We develop or enhance structures that ensure stakeholder, partner and staff engagement, at all levels, in CQI. And we tailor tools and coach CQI participants on how to make meaning of data and performance information gained through CQI processes to inform decision-making.
The Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First) is the most significant federal child welfare legislation passed in recent history. Chapin Hall is collaborating with jurisdictions and organizations across the country as they assess readiness and plan for Family First implementation and align their child welfare system with the transformational opportunities in the legislation.
The Chapin Hall suite of tools, readiness assessment, and planning framework provide a phased approach to preparing for successful implementation. We conduct a data-informed exploration of the needs of children and families impacted by the legislation to guide visioning and decision making.
Chapin Hall is a partner with jurisdictions implementing Family First in its initial year, and our experts have a deep understanding of the opportunities, and challenges, within the legislation. Together with child welfare leaders, Chapin Hall experts are facilitating the engagement and meaningful participation of cross-sector stakeholder groups to develop Family First implementation plans.
Chapin Hall is grateful for the support from Casey Family Programs, The Duke Endowment, and our jurisdictional partners as we collectively envision and engage in child welfare system transformation so that families and children can thrive.
Highlights from our Family First Prevention Services Act partnerships:
- Chapin Hall Family First Framework
- Motivational Interviewing in the District of Columbia
- Synthesis of State Candidacy Criteria in Submitted Prevention Plans
- Realizing the Promise of Family First (District of Columbia)
- Prevention Plan Executive Summary (District of Columbia)
- Presentation on System Transformation and Family First Planning in Maryland at the American Public Human Services Association 2019 Conference
- Family First Provider Readiness Assessment Survey (Kentucky)
- Key Considerations for Family First Implementation (North Carolina)
For more information, email us at FamilyFirstChapin@Chapinhall.org.