- Posted by Famcare
- On June 20, 2017
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The Family Care Network has been built upon seven foundational principles: 1) stay Mission Focused, 2) always do what is Best for clients and the organization, 3) maintain the highest level of Integrity, 4) promote Accountability, 5) always work Collaboratively, 6) maintain excellent Customer Service, and 7) promote Creativity, Innovation and Imagination. These principles have proved to be an outstanding formula for success!
During our Year 24, we purposed to strengthen these core operating principles by establishing a much more robust Total Quality Management process. FCNI had grown to the point where we needed a full-time Quality Management Coordinator, so we hired one. The goal here was to put the organization under a higher resolution microscope to make sure that we were doing what we are supposed to, in the manner that we were expected to, and with the outcomes we sought to accomplish. This was a very ominous task. Program fidelity, contract, regulation and accreditation standards compliance, as well as adhering to our own policies and procedures was placed under scrutiny.
In my career, I have been involved in the hiring process of hundreds, probably several thousand, employees for FCNI and other organizations. I have been fortunate to have had a pretty good internal discernment about folks, but every once in awhile someone emerges whom you know is, without a doubt, exceptional. That was the case with our Quality Management Coordinator (QMC). Allie Loucks was being interviewed for a totally different position within the company. At the end of the interview, I turned to our COO and said “We need to have her on our team – but where?”
We had been discussing bringing on a full-time QMC, and had actually tried somebody, without success. Allie did not have the education or experience we thought we needed, but… Jon and I both saw incredible potential, and so we took a chance. I am delighted to say, we absolutely hit a home run; this lady far exceeded our expectations and has done an incredible job of carrying out her very critical responsibilities!
Our Central Coast region certainly does not compare to LA, San Francisco Bay area or Sacramento in terms of population or the degree and complexity of social problems and challenges. And yet, during this time period, the Family Care Network was one of the largest Transitional Housing and Therapeutic Foster Care providers in the state. This would eventually change as other agencies began to learn of new opportunities to serve their communities. This status and our agency’s reputation as a leader in the service areas, opened several very important opportunities for me to become involved in several very important public policy issues.
First, Congress passed the “Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act” at the end of 2008. This legislation paved the way for states to allow youth, ages 18-21, to remain in the foster care system until the age of 21 and continue to receive federal funding. Consequently, driven by pressure from numerous Youth Advocacy Organizations and Youth Services Providers like FCNI, California embarked on the creation of AB12. AB12 was California’s implementation of “Fostering Connections,” a substantial piece of legislation offering several important new paths for foster youth to receive support and services until age 21.
Early on, I was invited to participate in numerous workgroups and committees crafting programs and policy to be enacted in AB12. I was making two to four trips per month to Sacramento, the Bay Area or LA for much of the year working on this project. One of the areas I had the most influence in was the creation of the new Transitional Housing Plus-Foster Care (THP+ FC) Program, and program rate. I was able to introduce the TAY Services Best Practices handbook I helped develop with the California Alliance of Child & Family Services, as well as the program design model the Family Care Network used in our THPP and THP Plus programs. It was an interesting coalition of public and private representatives, sometimes very daunting and challenging, but in the end, quite productive.
Secondly, having been one of the principal scribes in the creation of AB 1380, I was invited to participate in a workgroup created by the California Department of Social Services, which had two objectives. First, to help the state fully understand what Intensive Treatment Foster Care (ITFC) was, and two, create a program model on which to create an appropriate state ITFC Rate. I don’t hesitate in saying that this was one of the most productive, informative and pleasant state-sponsored workgroups I have participated in. At its conclusion, an “interim” ITFC rate was established and I wrote a comprehensive Therapeutic Foster Care program model which would later be used in the Katie A litigation settlement process.
Finally, because the Family Care Network had become a recognized leader in TAY Housing and ITFC, we were being inundated with request for information, consultation and visits to our facility. Over the year, we engaged with over a dozen public and private organizations.
The high point of 2010/2011 for me was to participate in a presentation about Therapeutic Foster Care to representatives of the US Congress in Washington DC, which included my presenting the FFTA’s “Foster Care Champion Award”to Congresswoman Karen Bass.
We finished the year having served 1094 children, youth and families through 13 programs with an incredible 94% success rate. FCNI averaged over 150 employees, utilized 85 foster families and were blessed to have 675 volunteers donate 18,096 hours of volunteer service! 2059 individuals, businesses or organizations financially contributed to our efforts as well.