Session iv making data informed decisions ramblings from the right coast
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Session IV: Making Data Informed Decisions (Ramblings from the Right Coast). Larry Brown, MSW PA Roundtable - Pittsburgh November 21, 2009. “Stock and Flow” Model. Courtesy of Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago. Unintended Consequences (Imaginable Effects?).

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Session IV: Making Data Informed Decisions (Ramblings from the Right Coast)

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Session iv making data informed decisions ramblings from the right coast

Session IV: Making Data Informed Decisions(Ramblings from the Right Coast)

Larry Brown, MSW

PA Roundtable - Pittsburgh

November 21, 2009


Session iv making data informed decisions ramblings from the right coast

“Stock and Flow” Model

Courtesy of Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago


Unintended consequences imaginable effects

Unintended Consequences(Imaginable Effects?)

Reduced Entries

  • Other Potential Effects:

  • Re-occurrence of abuse or neglect (are children being SAFELY diverted?)

  • Keep an eye on the back end. Do discharges slow (LOS goes up) while you’re paying attention elsewhere?

Front End Strategies


Unintended effects

Unintended Effects

More Exits to Permanency

  • Other Potential Effects:

  • Look for re-entry issues (Are children leaving with adequate supports?)

  • Keep an eye on the front end.

Back End Strategies


Unintended effects1

Unintended Effects

Less restrictive placements

  • Other Considerations:

  • Monitor and plan for what happens in your provider community. It may not be your lowest quality providers who go out of business.

  • Placement stability.

Congregate Care Reduction


Unintended effects2

Unintended Effects

Fewer of subpopulation in care

Other Considerations:

  • Monitor the other parts of the system. As you move members of the sub-population, do kids from other strata move in to backfill? (e.g., if you move kids out of congregate care, do intake criteria change to fill beds? Solution? Close beds.)

  • Case mix will also change. Affects system dynamics (e.g., reducing “easy” entrants may increase average LOS)

Targeting Subpopulations


Use data that meet your focus and need

Use Data That Meet YOUR Focus and Need

  • Use existing reports, but know their limits/blind spots

  • Supplement where needed

  • It’s not always about quantity…


Three helpful ways to compare

Three Helpful Ways to Compare

Rates and Percents - do the work for your users

Comparisons to Peers - motivational and political, but least useful; diagnostic

Comparisons to Self Over Time - most valuable, IF the measure is useful


Session iv making data informed decisions ramblings from the right coast

When Building Reports:Do the work for the user

Source: PA Data Update, NGA, June, 2009


Other things to think about

Other Things to Think About

Seasonality.Many jurisdictions are tracking changes in population month-to-month, but many systems experience seasonality in their system.

Monitoring.Strengths-based monitoring relies on leaving a little room for qualitative explanations.

Investment Strategies. States should consider how their strategies work in terms of a return on investment.

Integrated Work. The strongest, longest-lasting strategy is one that is consistent with the agency’s practice model.


How to proceed

How to Proceed?

ID targets

Decide appropriate measures

Watch for unintended, but imaginable, consequences

Measure systematically; predict where you want to be

Report routinely and transparently


Team time

Team Time


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