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August 2012Vol. 13, No. 7NRCOI Practice Model Peer Network

By Anne Comstock, Associate Director, National Resource Center for Organizational Improvement

The Children's Bureau's National Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NRCOI) is committed to supporting States, Tribes, and territories across the country in improving their child welfare outcomes and systems. One effective strategy is peer networks. Child welfare professionals across the country value learning about the success and struggles of their peers and sharing resources, ideas, and strategies to support each other in this work. NRCOI currently supports four peer networks focusing on quality improvement, training systems, Child and Family Services Reviews/Child and Family Services Plans, and the newest peer network for practice model development and implementation.

The NRCOI implemented the Practice Model Peer Network after discussions and a survey among States and Tribes confirmed both the need for and interest in connecting around this issue. The network formed in the spring of 2011; its primary goal is to assist network members in focusing on key issues they face in developing and implementing practice models in their agencies. Components of the network include a webpage with State documents, tools, and other relevant resources and links, a network listserv that facilitates information requests among network members, and quarterly webinars.

Four webinars have occurred since spring 2011. In response to areas of interest identified in the survey, we have highlighted the work from IN, MI, MN, NJ, NH, UT, and VA. Content and discussion has included initial practice model development; implementation strategies; training, coaching and supervision; and measurement. We post recordings and materials from each webinar on the website. The next webinar is Monday, September 10, 2:00–3:30 p.m. (ET).

Beyond the Practice Model Peer Network, we strive to provide general support for States, Tribes, and territories working on practice models. We have hosted a number of national webinars focusing on practice model development and implementation. Our summer/fall 2011 Child Welfare Matters newsletter highlighted the work of four States and shared their learning of 10 critical implementation elements, organized under three implementation drivers:

  • Leadership
  • Competency
  • Organization

The newsletter shares lessons learned and provides links to resources, State documents, and opportunities to connect with others through the Practice Model Peer Network. We are currently completing a comprehensive document on system reform through developing and implementing child welfare practice models. We continue to be ready to support the needs and interests from the field in this area.

We'd love to hear from you with suggestions or requests to improve this or any other NRCOI service. For more information, or to register for the September 10 webinar, please contact Anne Comstock,, 720.328.0197.