Blueprint for Practice: Chapin Hall’s Approach to Building and Sustaining a Practice Model

Chapin Hall partners with states and private agencies to design, develop, and implement child welfare practice models. A practice model helps child welfare agencies determine the behavior, skills, and competencies needed to achieve their mission and improve the safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes of the children, youth, and families they serve. This white paper, Blueprint for Practice: Chapin Hall’s Approach to Building and Sustaining a Practice Model, describes how Chapin Hall helps agencies create and implement individually-tailored practice models.

What We Did

Through development and implementation of practice models in our partner jurisdictions, Chapin Hall has developed its own methods for creating practice models. As we developed these methods, policy staff created a four-stage process and a toolkit to guide these efforts. The process ensures input from staff at all levels, internal and external stakeholders, and consumers to achieve broad ownership of the practice model.

Stage 1. Build the scope of work. The Chapin Hall team meets with agency executive leadership to establish a clear set of tasks, deliverable, a timeline, and governance structure for the project.

Stage 2. Design. Chapin Hall convenes an implementation team composed of agency staff to identify and define core components of the practice model. In addition, a readiness assessment begins, to understand the agency’s capacity.

Stage 3. Development. Chapin Hall works with the entire agency team and staff across the child welfare system to finalize the practice model’s definitions. Focus groups help identify practice behaviors at the caseworker, supervisor, and administrative levels.

Stage 4. Implementation. Chapin Hall helps the agency align their existing processes with the model. In addition, Chapin Hall works with the agency to ensure a high-quality implementation, and to monitor the fidelity and sustainability of the model.

What We Found

Chapin Hall has partnered and collaborated with state and private agencies and has successfully developed, designed, and implemented an agency-wide practice model. Development of a practice model can be achieved within 8 months. However, time to fully implement a practice model varies based on the agency’s ability to sustain commitment and focus.

What It Means

Chapin Hall’s process for developing practice models calls for broad ownership of the practice model. We involve representatives from each of the agency’s pillar programs and departments in the design, development, and implementation of the practice model. To be successful, agencies will be coached to expand their knowledge of implementation science and systems-level integration.

Recommended Citation
O'Brien, J., Small, L., & Lakshman, M. (2020). Blueprint for practice: Chapin Hall's approach to building and sustaining a practice model. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
CH Blueprint for Practice White Paper