Fueled by increasing demands to improve federal measures and strengthen parental engagement activities and at a time when programs are experiencing significant staff attrition, decreasing budgets, and stagnant collections, child support programs are under extreme pressure to rethink how they serve children and families.
Our child welfare systems can feel like we are in a game of Jenga. We are attempting to grow and expand our systems by moving pieces one by one - while stretching our limited capacity. But with each move, the entire system risks collapse, particularly with worker shortages.
Accountability systems rarely work as they affix blame instead of fix systems. They also produce devastating side effects including workers gaming the measurement system and increase fear. There is a better way.
The goals associated with Family First are both noble and needed. If we do not fix our capacity crisis in child welfare, we may never see the results we hope to achieve.
What government does is noble and vital, but it can't deliver the value it should if we don't do a better job of making the work, work. The future of management is about more than technology and budgets.
While new technology can help us with everything from tracking work to enhancing our safety models, by itself it’s not enough.
Child welfare supervisors have an incredibly difficult job. One that is made even more complex by the broad role they play.
Child Welfare’s Pipe Problem: How Relieving the Pressure Can Ignite the Workforce’s Ability to Do Its Job
Child welfare has a pipe problem. Our pipes can't handle this much pressure... But there's another way, a way to relive the pressure and unleash the amazing internal motivation of our people ... and it starts with fixing the plumbing.
Despite years of investments worth billions of dollars, government has not seen the kind of radical results it expected from technology. A key reason why: States and localities first need to fix their capacity problem.
As we work with child welfare agencies across the country to help tackle the capacity crisis, here's a glimpse of what we're learning.