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Understanding and Developing Child Welfare Practice Models. The Service Array Process National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement A Service of the Children’s Bureau, U.S.D.H.H.S. April 28, 2008. Introduction.

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understanding and developing child welfare practice models

Understanding and Developing Child Welfare Practice Models

The Service Array Process

National Child Welfare Resource Center

for Organizational Improvement

A Service of the Children’s Bureau, U.S.D.H.H.S.

April 28, 2008

  • Every child welfare agency has a practice model, even if it is not articulated.
  • At a minimum, the agency’s practice model is embedded in its policy.
  • If the agency’s unarticulated practice model is embedded in its policy, the model is not easily accessible.
  • If the agency’s practice model is not articulated, it may not be the practice model the agency really wants.
the need for integrating aligning child welfare agencies


Core Principles

into developing:







The Need for Integrating/Aligning Child Welfare Agencies’
definition of a practice model
Definition of a Practice Model
  • A child welfare practice model is a conceptual map and organizational ideology of how agency employees, families, and stakeholders should partner in creating a physical and emotional environment that focuses on the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and their families.
  • The practice model contains definitions and explanations regarding how the agency as a whole will work internally and partner with families, service providers, and other stakeholders in child welfare services.
definition cont d
Definition (cont’d)
  • A practice model is the clear, written explanation of how the agency successfully functions.
  • The practice model is prescriptive in how services should be provided as articulated in agency regulations, policies, and procedures. It includes the practice activities and rationale that form the case process.
  • It is the agency’s guide to working with children and families.
definition cont d6
Definition (cont’d)
  • The practice model should make an explicit link connecting the agency’s policy and practice with its mission, vision, and core values.
  • It is a practice structure conceptualized and driven by fundamental values which incorporate integrated best-practice behavior to achieve overarching goals.
  • It is a framework to guide the daily interactions of employees, families, stakeholders, and community members connected to their work with the child welfare agency in conjunction with the standards of practice to achieve desired outcomes.
  • It can be used to drive critical systemic and operational issues to achieve greater system-wide advancement.
elements of a child welfare practice model could include
Elements of a Child Welfare Practice Model Could Include:
  • Core principles, agency values, and standards of professional practice.
  • Strategies and functions to achieve the core principles, agency values, and standards of professional practice.
  • Plan for assessing service needs and engaging families.
  • Strategies to measure family outcomes.
  • Strategies to measure agency and worker outcomes.
  • Plan for measuring and sustaining organizational success.
  • Plan for supporting organizational and practice change.
a model of practice
A Model of Practice:
  • Applies to everyone.
  • Defines relationships.
  • Guides thinking.
  • Structures beliefs about families.
first component values values are expressed by
First Component: Values.Values are expressed by…
  • A set of principles to work from
  • Choices of tools for training and working
  • Organization-wide commitment to chosen values
values support
Values Support…
  • The central position of the child and the family
  • The primary considerations for the caseworkers in their interactions with children and families.
  • Shared commitments across agency and partner roles.
second component practice defining practice
Second Component: Practice.Defining Practice
  • What processes will be used.
  • What skills are needed.
  • How the agency will mirror the caseworker’s relation to the family.
the approach to practice is continuously defined
The Approach to Practice is Continuously Defined
  • The model provides a guide.
  • Training provides a knowledge and skill base for practice.
  • Supervision reinforces and refines practice.
  • Practice is continuously re-implemented in the field with greater levels of consistency and sophistication.
the third component outcomes outcomes for a model of practice
The Third Component: Outcomes.Outcomes for a Model of Practice
  • Outcomes are specific and positive for children and families.
  • Measured in terms of the model’s expectations.
  • Explicit measurement for the model.
  • Measurement motivates a standard of practice.
two examples of practice models
Two Examples of Practice Models
  • District of Columbia
  • Utah
dc child welfare practice model
DC Child Welfare Practice Model

Four Fundamental Goals:

  • Children are safe.
  • Families are strengthened.
  • Children and teens have permanence.
  • Child and teen development needs are met.
dc child welfare practice model case principles and values
Children first

Family focused

Respect for all clients







Team Work

DC Child Welfare Practice ModelCase Principles and Values:
dc child welfare practice model leadership principles

Get results through others

Use power and influence

Be visible

Manage conflict


Communication of expectations




People/trust development

DC Child Welfare Practice Model.Leadership Principles:
dc child welfare practice model19
DC Child Welfare Practice Model

Practice Protocol for Social Workers:

  • Respect and engagement
  • Assess
  • Plan
  • Coordinate and lead
  • Serve
  • Monitor and evaluate
  • Adjust
  • Reassess and close
utah child and family services practice model
Utah Child and Family ServicesPractice Model
  • Principles
  • Processes
  • Skills
  • Outcomes
utah practice model
Utah Practice Model
  • Seven Principles
  • Five Skill Areas
  • Outcome Measures
utah practice principles
Utah Practice Principles
  • Protection
  • Permanence
  • Development
  • Cultural Responsiveness
  • Partnership
  • Organizational Competence
  • Professional Competence
utah practice processes and skills
Utah Practice Processes and Skills
  • Engaging
  • Teaming
  • Assessing
  • Planning
  • Intervening
utah changes in system outcomes
Utah Changes in System Outcomes
  • Increased effort and confidence
  • Ability to manage data and practice improvement
  • Training seen as instrumental
  • New employees show rapid acculturation
  • Region-based, annual measurement through the Qualitative Case Review
lessons learned dc
Lessons Learned: DC
  • Caution around multiple concurrent system-wide practice shifts—how much to take on?
  • Change fatigue with multiple practice shifts.
  • The vital role of stakeholder and staff education and empowerment opportunities.
  • Conceptualizing and eventuating a culture shift around practice to actualize practice model values.
lessons learned utah
Lessons Learned: Utah
  • Respect the change initiative
  • Intend to make your agency more positive
  • Create accountability for shared values
  • Always be strengths-based
  • Always be aware of the underlying conditios
  • Always focus on solutions
  • Have clear, time-related goals
  • Use external pressures to further goals
lessons learned utah cont d
Lessons Learned: Utah (cont’d)
  • Intend a unique best for each child and family
  • Put the family first and in the lead
  • Acknowledge each child’s and family’s culture, needs and history
  • Use each strategy of the model with the family
  • Provide opportunities for learning and leadership for the family
lessons learned utah cont d28
Lessons Learned: Utah (cont’d)

Useful Tool: Appreciative Inquiry

Ask what is working Reinforces strengths

now. and respect for what has

been accomplished.

Ask what needs to be Acknowledges aware-

changed. ness of needs.

Ask what solutions Acknowledge that we

are available or each have our own

possible. solutions within us.

Acknowledgements:Workshop presented at 2007 Children’s Bureau Conference for Agencies and Courts, Arlington, VA, December 12, 2007
  • Angie Herrick Bordeaux, NRCOI
  • Dr. Roque Gerald, District of Columbia, Child and Family Services Agency
  • Dr. Midge Delavan, Utah Department of Child and Family Services