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2006 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 11, No. 3
June 2006

A Training Resource for Outcomes and Collaboration

It takes everyone—inside and outside the agency—to achieve the outcomes DSS seeks. This means that if you want to make improvements on an outcome, you don’t need to work harder or longer hours. Instead, you must work smarter by building partnerships within your agency and with others in your community.

Even when they accept this concept in principle, some agencies don’t try hard enough to look for ways to partner across programs within the agency. Although there is the perception that there are funding or programmatic barriers that prevent this collaboration, this is usually not the case. The actual hindrance has more to do with a lack of incentives for collaboration across program lines.

In North Carolina this is changing somewhat, thanks to the Multiple Response System (MRS). With MRS—and particularly with its family assessment response—agencies are encouraged to provide more front-end, supportive services to families. To do this, people need to work more closely across program lines. This increased collaboration is already being seen between child welfare and economic services. As MRS continues, it is likely that it will foster closer partnerships with child support, food stamps, and other programs.

Now there is a training course designed to bring supervisors from across North Carolina’s county DSS’s together to focus on collaborating to improve outcomes. Called Cornerstone IV: Supervisors Working with Others, Working with Outcomes, this course teaches supervisors how to analyze data and, using that data, to measure progress toward successful outcomes. It also teaches participants to articulate those successes to various stakeholders.

Cornerstone IV is being piloted during the 2005-2006 training year with teams of county DSS supervisors. DSS directors or supervisors interested in learning about the pilot events should contact Teresa Turner, Training Manager for the NC Division of Social Services (919/733-7672) or Amy Ramirez, Training Coordinator for the Family and Children’s Resource Program at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work (919/962-4365; aramirez@email.unc.edu).

The curriculum will be offered as a 300 series course for all supervisors after July 1, 2006.