As part of its Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) strategy, the North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Children and Family Services (CFS) division will begin the process of conducting onsite case reviews (OCR) this week in meetings with licensed foster and adoptive families, as well as relative caregivers.
These sessions will begin in Grand Forks, and similar meetings will be held in various communities throughout the state in 2018 to gain information about strengths and challenges within the state’s child welfare programs.
“Ultimately, the department hopes to use the data from the OCR to help us improve child welfare services and achieve improved outcomes related to safety, permanency and well-being of children and families,” said Diana Weber, the CFS administrator for the onsite care review process, in an email to The Chronicle of Social Change.
In addition to the meetings, CFS is using surveys to solicit feedback from parents with children in foster care, professionals who work with children in the system and youth who are served by the system. The survey can be obtained from the onsite case review manager at the University of North Dakota Children and Family Services Training Center.
In addition to the meetings and surveys, CFS officials will review county foster care and in-home services cases of children in the foster care system during a week-long onsite visit.
Once these are complete and data compiled, the findings will be shared with local agencies in each region and will be used at the state level for North Dakota’s CQI process. The state began implementing CQI about two years ago in an effort to identify strengths and problems and to learn from them in order to create solutions.
“The state is in the early stages of formalizing its CQI process, thus immediate changes are not specifically intended,” Weber said. “Rather, it is anticipated that practices/policies/services producing the desired outcomes can be continued and strengthened. Areas determined not to be in full compliance or leading the desired outcomes will go through a collaborative CQI process so all may better understand what and why something is not working and an appropriate solution be identified.”
The OCR process has been established to annualize the case review process carried out every few years by the federal government for its Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) process. North Dakota completed its third CFSR review in 2016.
“North Dakota is in the process of developing a Practice Improvement Plan (PIP) in collaboration with the Children’s Bureau,” Weber said. “The data from the regional OCRs will be shared with the Children’s Bureau as part of the PIP to ensure practice improvements are occurring.”