State scores high in some areas; Program Improvement Plan will address needed improvements in others
March 16, 2009
"We're pleased to see from this review that Alaska has made measurable strides in our child protective services system," said Office of Children's Services Director Tammy Sandoval. "These results provide us with confirmation that the path we had already been following is exactly the path for us to continue on, to keep Alaska's children safe and help their families grow stronger."
The review began with an analysis of Alaska's child welfare data and a Statewide Assessment developed by the Office of Children's Services, Department of Health and Social Services. In addition, during the week of Sept. 8, 2008, on-site reviews of 65 Alaska cases (from Anchorage, Juneau and Bethel) and interviews with local and state stakeholders were conducted.
The review measured performance on 23 items related to seven safety, permanency and well-being outcomes, and 22 items related to seven systemic factors. Items were rated as either a "Strength," or as an "Area Needing Improvement" (ANI).
Alaska's results showed ratings of Strength in several areas. Some of those strengths were:
Alaska also received high marks for implementation of a comprehensive data system, the Online Resource for the Children of Alaska (ORCA), which informs those using the system immediately with details of every child in foster care in the state.
Areas needing attention and improvement include: safety; permanency or well-being; quality assurance; and training. Foster and adoptive parent licensing, recruitment and retention efforts also require continual attention. Since the review was completed, the OCS has already shown measurable improvements in some of these areas according to the new release.
Each state's CFSR culminates in a requirement to respond to the federal review with a written Program Improvement Plan (PIP) that addresses each area found to be needing improvement. Alaska's PIP must be submitted by May 4, 2009.
Alaska has already begun its
PIP work. More than 50 participants attended the PIP kick-off
meeting in Anchorage earlier this year. Those participating included
OCS staff, service providers, program staff, focus groups, and
other partners and organizations. Workgroups were established
that will meet twice a month and will reach out to a broad array
of stakeholders through the use of focus groups, using established
community and statewide forums.
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