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)

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?)

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

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 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 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 existing reports, but know their limits/blind spots

  • Supplement where needed

  • It’s not always about quantity…


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


When Building Reports:Do the work for the user

Source: PA Data Update, NGA, June, 2009


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?

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


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