- Policy and Advocacy
The District's Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) has announced a new strategic agenda and organizational chart of the agency's restructuring under Director Brenda Donald.
Director Donald sent the following out to external stakeholders last week:
Dear CFSA Partner:
This spring, CFSA has taken several important steps in getting organized to go full force on the "four pillars" strategic agenda (above) that I’ve shared with you. With the final District Council vote on the city’s FY13 budget scheduled for June 5, we expect to get sufficient financial resources to continue moving CFSA forward next year.
That’s good news! Even while devoting considerable time to the budget for several weeks, we also aligned the FY12 strategy plan required under LaShawn with our four-part agenda. This was significant in gaining buy-in from the plaintiffs and Court while also incorporating LaShawn requirements into our overall direction. During the same period, four work groups composed of both CFSA and external stakeholders proposed a series of specific strategies for achieving our four-pillar agenda. The CFSA Leadership Team then vetted the proposals and selected strategies with the greatest potential return on investment for action.
Today, I want to announce realignment of CFSA’s internal structure in support of the improved outcomes we’re seeking for children, youth, and families. There is nothing random about this decision but rather a thoughtful, deliberate approach to ensuring we’re organized for optimum performance. A simplified CFSA organization chart (attached) illustrates the realignment, and looking at it while reading the descriptions below will help you see what’s happening.
Evolution of Community Services and Clinical Practice Functions
The most significant change involves disbanding the organizational entities we’ve known as the Community Services Administration and Office of Clinical Practice in order to transition and integrate all their functions for greater impact. In Program Operations . . . CFSA will create a new position of Deputy Director, Entry Services to integrate a reorganized array of services at the front-door and improve overall performance. We are completing negotiations with a strong candidate who we expect to bring on board shortly. In keeping with our strategic agenda, the front door will narrow while also becoming more robust for those who come in.
The new structure supports a more well-rounded first response to abuse and neglect that coordinates and promptly mobilizes CFSA expertise in safety, family engagement, well being, and protection.
*As always, Child Protective Services under Michelle Farr (CPS) continues to intervene for safety.
*Family Team Meetings moves from Clinical Practice to the front door to take better advantage of their early engagement of family and potential to prevent placement when possible. This will form the basis of a new Kinship Support Division, where we will hire a Kinship Coordinator to ensure focus on increasing CFSA use of kinship care.
* Clinical & Health, including the nurse care managers, moves from Clinical Practice to the front door in recognition of their critical role in immediate health assessment and ongoing coordination of care. Cheryl Durden will head this administration. *Placement Services under Jill Forbes joins the front-door team, which has long been their partner. This realignment recognizes Placement’s protective role and important function in establishing the cornerstone of well being for each child who must enter care.
To consolidate the important remaining functions from Community Services, we will establish a new Foster Care Resources Administration. It will integrate critical support services including foster/adoptive parent recruitment and family-based and congregate care licensing and monitoring (from the former Family Resources, Family Licensing, and Contracted Programs Divisions). Valerie Douglas will head this administration. Under the Chief of Staff . . . We are creating a Well Being Administration to vastly strengthen support services in the areas of education, domestic violence response, mentoring/tutoring, substance abuse treatment, and transportation. Nicole Hanley will direct this new administration, which will increase attention to healthy growth and development of children and youth in our care in keeping with a major pillar of our strategic agenda. The Mayor’s social services liaison co-located with Family Court (Ora Graham) will join this administration, along with Partners for Kids in Care, our donor/volunteer coordination program under Beatrice Williar. Due to this realignment, CFSA will no longer have Deputy Director positions in Community Services or Clinical Practice.
As a result, we will lose the services of Dr. Cheryl Williams, deputy director, OCP. During her nine years with CFSA, Dr. Williams has been instrumental in improving health services for our children and youth in care, including replacing an expensive contract with improved health screening in-house and launching the nurse care manager model. All of us very much appreciate Dr. Williams’ dedication and contributions to CFSA and the children and families we serve.
Youth Empowerment Chain of Command
As part of the realignment, Sarah Thankachan and the team in the Office of Youth Empowerment will report directly to me. This will allow us to work together to meet ambitious goals for achieving permanence for more older youth while also ensuring they are well prepared for adulthood.
Changes During Next 30 Days
Changes I’ve described here align our organizational structure in support of our agency strategy, and we expect to complete them over the next 30 days. Within the next couple of weeks, I’ll announce some additional fine tuning within this structure. It’s time to rev up to "full speed ahead" on our four-pillar agenda. I’ll be reaching out soon to both CFSA staff and stakeholders with details about strategies under the four-pillar agenda. This will include reporting results of the work group activities and information about next steps. CFSA must be very intentional in orchestrating and integrating continuing improvements to get to the next level of performance. The four pillars are a purposeful strategic approach to attaining consistent delivery of a smooth continuum of care and better outcomes to children, youth, and families. I know you share the values of wanting the best, doing our best, and achieving the best for all those we serve, and our four-part agenda is a blueprint for doing just that. The more we organize around it, the more likely we are to succeed.