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Implementation & Accountability

Support Youth Transitioning from Foster Care

Implementation & Accountability

Implementation

Because of the variety in proven interventions, states and communities have leeway to find programs that suit local values, opportunities and budgets. The key is to select strategies that have documented effectiveness, assure that they are implemented well and recognize the critical importance of a strong commitment to continuous program improvement.

  • Match expectations with sufficient resources.  Be clear about the goals, purpose and target audience for specific programs.  Provide sufficient resources to ensure fidelity to available evidence-based models or modify expectations to accommodate variances.
  • Identifying barriers.  Effective policy development requires the identification of factors that may impede effective implementation.
  • Make provisions for broad-based input.  When involvement will increase the likelihood that the needs of children and families are being met by the policy, engage community stakeholders (providers, parents, youth and courts) in implementation.
  • Support local capacity and communication. Provide technical assistance, monitoring and oversight to local programs and agencies.  Create opportunities for local-to-local communication, best practices sharing and local input on state policy decisions.
  • Support ongoing evaluation and continuous program improvement.

Making provisions for broad-based input is an important step to ensuring successful policy implementation.  In Maine young people involved in the state’s youth leadership board were the impetus for the development of the state child welfare agency’s first permanency policy. The policy was also largely written and researched by a young person formerly in foster care.

Accountability

Evaluation is essential for successful policy implementation and ensuring intended outcomes.  Accountability requires determining whether programs are implemented correctly, the right programs and strategies are used, progress is measured appropriately and children and families are benefiting.  

  • Monitoring results.  Through data, other information and consultation, it is possible to determine if the results we set out to achieve for children and families have been attained.  By reexamining the selected indicators, we can measure our progress toward the desired result.
  • Monitoring performance.  Oversight requires policymakers to determine if policy objectives have been achieved by focusing attention on the performance of specific programs or agencies. This involves reviewing individual programs and their impact on the lives of the people the program is designed to serve. 

Determine if the strategies are contributing to better results and meeting performance standards.  

  • Assign responsibility for realistic outcomes.   Responsibility for outcomes should be designated based on the appropriate roles, resources and capacity of public and private stakeholders. 
  • Establish oversight bodies that consistently review key actions by state agencies.
  • Measure and report progress to stakeholders and the community.  Require public availability of data to allow administrators, policymakers and the public to measure the state’s progress on key outcomes.

Establishing an oversight body—whether a taskforce or oversight committee—whose purpose is to consistently review key actions during policy implementation and the subsequent service delivery provides accountability that will increase the likelihood of a policy’s success.  In Tennessee, legislation was passed to set up the Independent Living Services oversight committee, staffed by legislators, child welfare staff and community members.  It is tasked with ensuring that services are being delivered in a way that makes sense for young people.

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1. Are we consulting with appropriate experts, advocates and constituents?

2. Are we ensuring that families being consulted and that their views and experiences are being considered?

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Considering Racial Equity:

1. Does this policy take into account differences in cultures and community norms?

2. Will/Is this policy improving racial equity?