• September 2008
  • Vol. 9, No. 7

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North Carolina's PIP Kick-Off

What happens when a State's Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) is completed? It doesn't mean that the work is over. In fact, the end of the onsite CFSR sets off the beginning of another process—the Program Improvement Plan or PIP—a customized plan developed by each State with the support of the Children's Bureau to address child welfare issues brought to light by the CFSR. Once the PIP is developed and approved, it serves as a State's road map for continual improvement in child welfare over the next several years. But PIP development requires considerable planning and collaboration among a number of stakeholders. This can begin even before the receipt of the Final Report. To facilitate this process in the second round of the CFSRs, the National Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NRCOI) has helped a number of States launch their PIP process with a 1-day kick-off event.

North Carolina's PIP Kick-Off was in the planning stages soon after the CFSR Onsite Review in March 2007. Candice Britt, North Carolina's CFSR Coordinator in the Division of Social Services, knew the State's CFSR results and began to make "laundry lists" of North Carolina's child welfare strengths and challenges. Meeting with other State staff and drawing on information from the preliminary CFSR report, Britt and her team identified five themes to be addressed in North Carolina's PIP:

  • Child, youth, and family involvement
  • Interagency collaboration
  • Cultural competency
  • Court involvement
  • Accountability

More than 75 stakeholders attended North Carolina's PIP Kick-Off in May 2007, including representatives from Federal and State agencies, county departments of social services, Tribes, the courts, universities, family and parent groups, and workers from the related fields of education, domestic violence, and mental health. Many were part of the pre-existing North Carolina Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families (the Collaborative). While morning presentations of the CFSR results confirmed issues that State administrators had noted in the past, it was the first time many stakeholders heard about the issues from Federal representatives and other non-State workers.

In the afternoon, participants self-selected into smaller groups to discuss the five themes. Co-facilitators from various stakeholder groups helped to keep the discussions on target. These discussion groups were critical to the eventual development of the PIP, because all of the groups met at least three more times after the kick-off event to make and review recommendations and provide feedback for the final document.

North Carolina's final PIP document reflects the collaboration and stakeholder involvement that were integral to the PIP process. Built around the five themes, the document outlines key concerns as well as strategies for addressing these concerns using a systems of care approach and an emphasis on family engagement.

Commenting on the PIP Kick-Off, Britt notes that, "Our ongoing relationships with our stakeholders, particularly the Collaborative, were key to the success of the event. By actively seeking leaders from different groups, we helped communicate a message of shared responsibility and partnership for the children and families of North Carolina."

Many thanks to Candice Britt, M.S.W., who supplied the information for this article.

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