Outcomes-Based Service Delivery Programs
Calgary and Area Child and Family Services is in the process of changing how it practises child welfare.
The ministry now looks at providing more preventative/early intervention services up front. The goal is to take less children into care and use kinship care more often.
This initiative actually began to unfold back in April 2009 when Wood’s Homes was awarded the Phase 1 Outcomes-Based Service Delivery (OBSD) tender with Calgary and Area Child and Family Services (CFS). Two months later, Wood’s Homes was offering services to children, youth and families associated with CFS. We were working on the first OBSD initiative in Alberta.
And although this initiative is not brand new, these are fairly early days and yet we are already able to report better evidence and outcomes all around.
OBSD entails child and family-serving agencies and community partners working together to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of services. With a stronger focus on outcomes and flexibility, it allows agencies, the case worker and the family a strong voice in case-planning. By creating a more collaborative environment, case planning would invite multiple perspectives on how best to provide supports and services.
In short, OBSD is about doing the right thing (checking to make sure families are being helped and children are safe) as opposed to doing things right (following procedures first). It is about:
- Better tracking a child’s journey through the child protection system from entry to exit;
- Providing the right help in a timely way and shared responsibility for early identification;
- Measuring what matters…have children been helped;
- Improving the quality of practice and recognizing the centrality of relationships with children and families;
- Using evidence, developing skill and focusing on outcomes.
Our data shows the following results:
- Less files are opening following assessment;
- More children are staying home;
- Significantly more children and youth are going back home;
- More children are in family-based care;
- Children and youth are provided services for a shorter time.
It’s not perfect, there were many lessons to be learned, but Wood’s Homes is proud to be trumpeting this exciting work.
Recently we celebrated five years of providing Outcomes Based Service Delivery in Calgary and Lethbridge (2010).
For more information about OBSD, visit the Alberta Human Services site at: www.albertahumanservices.ca