- Posted by Famcare
- On June 8, 2017
- 0 Comments
Under the umbrella of the California Alliance of Child & Family Services, the Family Care Network was becoming much more visible. Jon Nibbio, our COO, and I were invited early on to work with the plaintiffs attorneys in the Katie A Litigation because of our successful Wraparound and Therapeutic Foster Care programs. Since the early 2000s, we had been invited and presented workshops or presentations at multiple statewide conferences, covering topics such as effective collaboration, Therapeutic Foster Care, Transitional Housing and Wraparound Services. Our organization was becoming recognized as an industry leader and expert provider in California.
I find it rather interesting how this recognition came to be. Up to this point, it was not a strategic initiative–it just happened! I attribute this newly acquired identity to several key factors.
First, our organization has always been driven by our mission, “to enhance the wellbeing of children and families…”, and by achieving the very best outcomes for our clients. We have always painstakingly researched which practices were producing the best outcomes coupled with religious tracking for implementing ongoing improvement to our performance. In fact, we were producing amazing outcomes with the most difficult, challenging and high-needs children, youth and families in the system!
Second, word-of-mouth–people were talking about our organization, whether we knew them or not. On a routine basis, we were receiving calls from other counties and providers wanting to come visit our organization to learn what we were doing so successfully. Counties–large and small–as well as providers, were interested in contracting with us for program and service development consultation or just getting guidance for free!
Third, I was aggressively engaged in Advocacy and Promotion. For a number of years, the Family Care Network had been developing and distributing a very effective, informative and, frankly, beautiful, Annual Report. We distribute hundreds of these each year. I have always made it my mandate to meet individually with all of our local, state and federal legislators, as well as community leaders. Besides presenting our ideas, needs and issues, I always provide them with a copy of our Annual Report.
Additionally, being involved at the state level with policy and legislation development has provided an awesome platform for presenting our programs, successes and best practices.
Fourth, and it bears repeating, Collaboration has been an essential element to everything we do at the Family Care Network. Our agency is very blessed and fortunate to have had incredible, competent County partners. Consequently, our “collective reputation” has gone forth into a broader audience.
Fifth, I was been given the humbling opportunity to provide Leadership through the California Alliance. Beginning as Chair of the Family-Based Services & Emerging Opportunities Committee in 2007, I eventually served for seven years on their Board, including a term as President. This experience opened more doors than I could have ever imagined, greatly expanding the Family Care Network’s scope of influence.
There was another interesting piece to this puzzle which emerged during this timeframe. Our Board of Directors felt strongly that it was necessary and beneficial for our organization if I could focus more of my attention and expertise “outside the organization!” In order to accomplish this, the Board established a Chief Operations Officer (COO) position, and elevated our Director of Clinical Services, Jon Nibbio, into the role. Though I never disengaged from the day-to-day operations of the organization, I now had the freedom and confidence to immerse myself in state and federal issues.
For several years now, the Family Care Network had employed a domain structure in our Strategic Plan based on the acronym SERVE. This represents: Superior-programs, Excellent-tools, Reputation-of-integrity, Value-people and Eye-on-the-future. Given the organization’s increased visibility and opportunities, 2008/2009 was our year to focus on Reputation-of-Integrity.
It is one thing to be recognized for quality services and effectiveness, but it is another to effectively manage ongoing quality and effectiveness. Now that the organization was under the view of so many, we really ramped up this elevated effort.
Some of the initiatives in our Reputation-of-Integrity Strategic Plan domain included:
- Continuing to make improvements in our Total Quality Management efforts, making sure we had the proper staffing and improving internal auditing procedures;
- Effectively prepare for our reaccreditation process, reconstituting our accreditation workgroup and scrutinizing policy and procedure;
- Improving Family Care Network “Image Management” by establishing a clear branding policy, updating and training staff on agency messaging and talking points, trademarking of FCNI logos, and expanding the use of TV, print, radio and social media;
- Expand state and national exposure by providing workshops, keynote addresses, consultation services and increase the marketing of FCNI materials; and
- Establish better procedures for reporting outcomes and company data.
Under our Strategic Plan Domain Superior-Programs, “Performance Improvement” has been a major strategic objective. In our Year 22, special attention was given to effectively using analytics to identify improvement areas and implement necessary changes.
Fiscal Year 2008/2009 ended with a very contentious state budget process produced by the threat of massive budget deficits resulting from the Great Recession. Never before had I experienced such hostility and blatant disregard for vulnerable children, youth and families in need, the mentally ill, the elderly or the sick. All this to say, I knew we were heading into very rough waters in the years to come, and I began preparing our organization for a “worst-case scenario.”
Nonetheless, we had another stellar year in terms of making a positive impact on the lives of our children, youth and families. We served 1803 clients through 15 programs with a 94% success rate. We averaged 168 employees per month, utilized 82 foster families and had 703 volunteers donate nearly 15,000 hours of time working with our clients or volunteering within the organization.