Coordinating Services for TANF and Child Welfare Families


Hello, everyone, and thank you
for joining today’s webinar, Coordinating Services for TANF
and Child Welfare Families. I am James Butler, with the
Office of Family Assistance, and I will be facilitating
today’s webinar. As you may know, only a small
percentage of TANF families are involved in
the child welfare system. A large portion of child welfare
families have received or are eligible
for TANF benefits. Coordination between TANF
and child welfare programs can increase access
to financial assistance, employment assistance,
and parenting support. We are excited to bring to you
a panel of expert presenters who will share how their local
TANF and child welfare programs collaborate through strategic
partnerships, data integration, coordinated case management,
and can provide support systems. During today’s webinar,
it is our hope that you will better understand the intersection between
current and eligible TANF and child welfare families, consider the value
of partnerships between TANF and child
welfare programs to improve outcomes
for families, and how you can explore
various approaches while creating partnerships between TANF and child
welfare programs. We are very fortunate
to have a variety of speakers with expertise on this topic who will guide
our conversation today. Before you hear from them,
we have asked Liliana Hernandez, a Child Welfare
Program Specialist here in the Administration
for Children and Families, to share some opening remarks. After hearing from Liliana, you will then hear
from Gerard Wallace, Director at the New York
State Kinship Navigator Program. Among many other duties
as Director, Gerard serves as a Public
Service Professor at the University of Albany
School of Social Welfare, co-Chair of the New York
City Care Coalition, and has also written
and presented extensively on kinship care policy and practice. Following Gerard, you will hear
from Deborah Northburg and Holly Morales with the Cook
Inlet Tribal Council. Deborah currently serves
as the Director of Child and Family Services at Cook
Inlet Tribal Council and has been with
the organization for more than 15 years. In her role at CTC,
Deborah has worked closely with the local child
protection office on various shared initiatives
for Alaska Native and American Indian children
in the state system. Holly Morales currently serves
as the Director of Employment and Training, NCTC, and has been with
the organization for more than 20 years. In her role at CTC, she implements
a variety of programs in addition to cash assistance that include workforce
development for adults and youth as well as tribal
vocational rehabilitation. To view the PowerPoint
slides in full screen, just click on the icon
with the four arrows pointing to the corners
in the upper right-hand corner of the PowerPoint slides. You can use the Q&A pod
at the right to send a question
for the presenters. If your question is
for a specific presenter, please indicate the presenter
when you enter your question. Please feel free to ask
questions at any time during the presentation, and we will do our best
to address all of the questions during the Q&A portion
of our webinar. We also will have a series
of polling questions that will appear on your screen at certain points
of the webinar. Please answer each by
clicking on the radio button next to your selected response. Doing so not only helps us
guide the discussion but will also share
additional information that may inform your practice. Please feel free to use
the Chat pod at the bottom right of your screen if you need
any technical assistance. So without further ado, Liliana,
if you would please. Hello, everyone. My name is Liliana Hernandez, and I’m the Tribal
Care Program Specialist in the Children’s Bureau within the Administration
for Children and Families. And I’m glad to have
this opportunity today to talk to you about child
welfare and TANF coordination. As you know, there is a –
look at my first slide – an overlap in families served. There is a strong correlation
between poverty and child maltreatment, and there are many Tribal Care
families that have received TANF or are eligible
to receive TANF services, and the coordination of services is important for improving
family outcomes. Next slide. When we speak about promoting TANF and child welfare
collaboration, the Children’s Bureau
previously funded 20 family connection
discretionary grantees that had a kinship
navigator component, and seven were
specifically focused on improving coordination between child welfare and TANF
to assist kinship children who might be entering
the child welfare system. We’ll be hearing
from Gerard Wallace, who is the Director
of the New York project, who also was one of
our previous grantees. The grantees focus on
increasing awareness of the TANF child-only grants as one public benefit
available to kinship families. And kinship navigators
assist kinship caregivers in applying for
and receiving TANF. And there is a link to the
cross-site evaluation report of these grantees. Next slide. Some examples of TANF
collaboration. I wanted to highlight
one of the projects, which is the
Children’s Home, Inc. out of Tampa, Florida. Some of the main
program components were they had
peer-to-peer navigators. They had kinship
caregivers themselves who served as the navigators and they conducted home visits with kinship families. And they had a laptop
and they were able to assist the caregiver with the online
application for the TANF grant. And the study found
that the peer-to-peer navigators had the highest TANF application
rate at a rate of 75%, and their enrollment
rates were 53% compared to the usual care
child welfare services that are available in Tampa, which had a lowest
TANF application rate at 19% and enrollment rates
of only six percent. So we really found that
in this particular study, by having
the kindship caregivers who were peer
navigators themselves, really knowledgeable
and understanding, and them being able to explain
to other kinship families, who are usually grandparents
or other aunts or uncles or relatives of the children
that they were raising, the benefits that they
would be able to receive if they applied
for the TANF grant. That was a strong impetus
to make sure that families would be able
to stick with the process and do the online application. The Children’s Bureau
has a contract with ICS that runs our
childwelfare.gov gateway. And we have,
through that contract, created a podcast
where we interview the director
of the Children’s Home, Inc. in Tampa, Florida,
so I’ve provided for you a link to the website where you can find that podcast. And there’s another podcast
of one of the other projects from California which was called the I
Foster 211 United Way, which really looked at an
online kinship navigator model. And so that director
and evaluator are also featured
on the podcast. And then the next slide
I just wanted to highlight for you some other kinship
navigator program resources. We’re moving into May, and
for National Foster Care Month we are focusing on relatives. So here is a website link. And then, as I mentioned, there’s various kinship
care resources on our child welfare
information gateway. And the gateway also has
a section that has guides and handbooks that list
some state examples around the country
of kinship care programs and kinship navigator
programs for caseworkers. And I now will pass
it back to James. Thank you, Liliana. And as promised, before you,
you should see on your screen your first polling question
for the course of the webinar. And we’ll give you a few
minutes to respond to that polling question before we move forward
with our first presenter. So, “Does your TANF program
currently partner with the Child Welfare Program to coordinate services
and benefits?” Okay, we’ll give you a couple
more seconds before we move on. Okay. Great. It looks like a majority
have a “yes” so far. So thanks, everyone,
for your responses. We will now turn
the presentation over to Gerard Wallace. Gerard? Thank you. Again, I’m Gerard Wallace. I’m from New York State. I work out of the capital. I run the Kinship Navigator.
You can go – I’ll just say “next”
for the next screen, okay? Our program provides
information, referral, and advocacy. I’m also a Public
Service Professor. I’ve been doing kinship law
and policy since the late 1990s, and certainly kinship care,
it’s time has come. It is now at the forefront
of child welfare practice, and we’re really glad to see
that the Family First Act and the omnibus bill are going to provide
some funding for kinship navigators. Next.
All right. I think just to go over quickly
who the kinship population is. Nationally 2.7 million
kinship caregivers. I think we all know
most of this, but it’s interesting
to highlight that. It’s only 65% of all – of grandparents
are the caregivers. The grandparent number has
decreased from 80 to 65% over the past 15 years, and that means there’s
more aunts and uncles and what they call fictive kin. And as you know, some of
the policies being created are expanding
the definition of kinship and who can get
services to include even non-blood caregivers. That’s important to understand. High rates of disabilities
for the caregivers. Of course, they’re older. They’re 56 years of age
and many of them are retired, on fixed incomes. Next. And that leads to issues
for the caregivers providing adequate care
and highlights why they need
these services. Now, kinship care really grows
out of the child welfare system, and if you look at
the causes of kinship care, and by here I mean
any kinship family whether they’re on
the child welfare system or on their own,
the causes are very similar. Abuse, neglect, abandonment. Same reasons that you have
in neglect or abuse or a child dependency
proceeding. Alcohol, substance abuse, certainly highlighted now
with the opioid crisis. Here in rural New York, we have
40 rural counties in this state. Hard to believe. They are devastated. It’s very, very difficult. Lili’s calling in from
West Virginia right now. We all know how bad
it is out there. The parents can be deceased. Mental illness is a big issue. Sometimes they’re just
unwilling to parent, and that’s really unfortunate. I like to talk
about mathematics because why do we have
this surge of kinship care over the past
three decades? Well, one reason is we have
less two-parent families. We have over 50% of
our parents are now single. And if you half
the number of parents, you’ve doubled the risk
of getting to zero, no parent. Just to highlight a little
more why kinship care – any kinship family – is similar to families
in child welfare. In our federal project,
we were able to mine data from five upstate counties. And looking at 449 children
who were served in our project, 86% of them had child
protective services records. None of them were
in foster care. Next. And then, of course this is – the reality of this
is even more severe when you look at the
circumstances of the children. I’m sure everybody is aware
of the ACE study, the Adverse Childhood
Experiences study. There’s another study by the
federal government called Adverse Family
Experiences. And here, just going through
the bullets, on your far left you can see some of
the disproportionality of and severity of the
situation for these children. Starting at the top, 1.5 times
as likely to be in a household that can’t afford basics. Five times as likely mental
illness in the household. Six times as likely
neighborhood violence. Fifteen times caregiver
or parent violence. Eleven times drug and alcohol. And 17 times more likely
to have a parent or caregiver incarcerated. These are families that come
from crisis situations. The children have high levels
of trauma and loss. Next slide, please. All this is just to point out why it’s really important
to get them to services. But go through the profile
a little further. This is from our
federal project also. The circle on the right
in dark blue and light blue
are the number of families that were below
the poverty level. That’s 36% of the kinship families in these
five upstate counties. And on the left
you can see once again that the proportion
of grandparents is not that high, here at 62.9%
Next slide, please. Yet, I have been doing this
for 20 years, and the skepticism
about kinship families when I first began was big. Wasn’t – didn’t have to go far
to hear the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Yet that’s prove
by statistically and by big studies
not to be fact. And some of the reasons
it’s not the fact is that kin are better equipped
to provide help. They are emotional support,
placement stability, less recidivism, less going
back into foster care. The sense of family identity and
all the associated family values that go with it
and keeping kids together. And what’s not on screen is the paramount virtue
of a kinship family which is the unconditional love
of a caregiver who will walk through water. And I’m going to plug my film
at the end, and you ought to go watch it because it really exemplifies
how great these caregivers are. Next slide, please. Okay. All right,
so that’s their situation. Now I’m a lawyer
and I look at their needs, and I see all sorts of barriers. This slide just mentions
a few of them. There’s a wonderful article
written in 2008 that’s entitled: “We Have No Rights,
We Get No Help”. Which summarizes at least
the perception of kinship families about how bereft
they are of assistance, and really just emphasizes
the need to get them
whatever services we can get. Access to the TANF
Child-Only grant, paramount, paramount
for impoverished families. The first thing we have
to make sure happens. Access to child welfare services
or foster care when needed. The law about who
gets into foster care and who doesn’t is
a difficult subject area. But our program and child
welfare folks are working to increase the amount of relative
relations in foster care. And that’s a national effort
that’s going on. Access to legal assistance. Not often mentioned,
but legal assistance is crucial. They’re going
for custody orders. They’re going for guardianship. They have an administrative
decision against them. To get benefits, legal help
is really important. And then there’s a whole range
of case management kind of services that can support them
and increase outcomes. Respite, parenting skills,
trauma for the children, and then support groups which
really provide a lot of solace. All those are kind of the things
that kinship services that we need to be getting
these families to. Next, please. Oh, just to emphasize
that child only grant, often called
the non-parent grant. A 2012 study by Chapin Hall,
only 12% of eligible families nationally
are getting the grant. There’s a lot more work
to be done in the handoff from child welfare to the public assistance arena to make sure
that when children – when child welfare gives
children to caregivers and they don’t become
foster parents, that they get to these benefits. I’ll sum it up. Child protective services gave
me my grandson eight years ago. This is the first time
I found out there’s help. Got to end that. There are other barriers
to getting this grant that folks in the TA side
would be aware of. I mention them here briefly
because us, as a service provider
for the kinship community, are really, really invested
in climbing over these barriers and getting people this grant. The application itself, sometimes the
terminology is wrong. We just had a case
here in Albany where the caregiver asked
for the wrong grant. A year-and-a-half was told
it didn’t exist. She won retroactive payments. Dedicated staff. If you can have a dedicated
person for these child only grants, you will really,
really increase the value and the opportunity
for families to get them. And, of course, the eligibility
requirements are just – go on and on. Next slide, please. On the child welfare end,
just to kind of frame it up, in 2008 the Fostering Connections to Success
and Increasing Adoptions Act, which funded these kinship
navigator demonstration grants, also talked about
the notification and opportunity for kin
to become caregiver – foster parents. And, in doing that,
the federal law said you must notify relatives, including all the grandparents,
you must do it in 30 days, and you must do it in writing. Yet we still have states
where this is an issue and where the information
is not given adequately or with the sufficient
kind of opportunity to understand
what your options are. Another part of that
child welfare law was kinship
guardianship programs which were a way out of
foster care, to get a subsidy. Makes it even more valuable
for kin to get – to become foster parents
and get that grant. Next slide, please. All this is by way of framing up
what the issues are and why it’s important
to get people to services. Now, the kinship navigator
program which I run, I’m a statewide program,
62 counties in New York State. We do have local
kinship services in 22 counties, case-management-style programs. Similar to what
Liliana described that Larry Cooper
is doing in Florida. But ours is an I&R program. We provide information, referral, education,
and advocacy. Our information on our website,
extensive legal fact sheets that are cited law
for self-advocacy. Extensive resources of anything
that is in any way close to
a kinship service provider. We have a help line
during business hours. Our referrals, it’s really
important to get people to the local programs or to any little support group, or to any kind of
mom-and-pop shop out there. We do a lot of education. This past year myself and two
other staffers did 120 presentations
across the state. Outreach, outreach, outreach. Finding, identifying, and getting to these
caregivers is not easy. On our website
we also have online videos of our presentations, and how-to guides for making out
the application for benefits. And we do advocacy on the state
level and on a case-wide level, and work to help
build collaborations task force across the state. Next slide, please. Now, we had
this demonstration project. And in it we did an evaluation
with the State SUNY Center for Human Services research. We implemented a permission
to contact procedure. That’s what I really want
to talk about. And we worked
with local departments to identify their challenges
to services and to help train them, and to sensitize their staff
to the different kinship issues. Next slide.
All right. The permission
to contact procedure. In a one-year period,
we increased from 49 referrals from these five upstate counties
departments of social services, on the child welfare side
and on the public benefits side, we increased from 49 to 428
referrals using this procedure. People stopped falling
through the cracks. It’s one thing if
we’re lucky enough that folks in the department are giving them information
about kinship services. It’s another thing whether they
actually use that information. Here are the target population. On the public benefits side,
if they are coming in for a public assistance grant or other services or staff, and you folks can identify them
as a kinship family, you want to get them
to that services. On the child welfare side,
as mentioned earlier, you may be giving
children to a caregiver and they are not going
to be a foster parent. It happens all the time. You may not even start
a removal or a procedure, a neglect procedure, but they
get the children informally, what is sometimes called
parole or a safety plan. If you start a procedure
and you’re in family court, you may convert it into a
private custody or guardianship. Or you may have
some kind of hyber – hybrid situation
where kin get the children but don’t become foster parents. It don’t matter, there’s
lots of different ways that people skin the cat, but in all those situations,
those kinship families normally speaking are informal. You need to get them to any other services
available in the county. That’s the permission
to contact procedure. How does that work? Next slide. Please? All right. First we had to negotiate it. We talked to senior management. We got buy in. We explained that
we would do trainings. We looked to get
some data sharing. Talked to them about what the
permission to contact procedure would be and how we had to get
folks to do it. And we asked for assistance
in outreach. And one – one instance we had
a mailing to public benefit recipients who were kinship caregivers
over the past two years, and then got folks in touch
with us via that. Next slide. Okay. This is the holy grail for us. The one that increased
so greatly, by over 600%, our numbers. A one-page form. Front and back. On one side it was just, hi,
this is the kinship navigator. We want to be in touch with you. Please turn the form over
and fill it out. The caregiver could be talking
to a benefit person or a child welfare person. Could be a family finder. It could be somebody in CPS. And they were given this form,
say make it out and we’ll get you to these
kinship navigator services. If the caregiver would fill out
the form, indicate – it’s little,
tiny on the screen here – when they wanted to be
contacted, day or night, and there’s a box on here where you could put
in information about the staffer who did it
and what department they’re in. That form was then left in
the office, and every few days, we did them in blue
so they wouldn’t lose the paper, every few days
somebody in the office would scan that form, or email them or fax them to us. I guess fax or scan, right? Next slide, please. We got in touch with that family
within two business days. We had a 95% closing the loop, and that’s how
the numbers went so high. The implementation really,
really was so successful because we worked at it. How did we work at it? Our research team first went in
and did some focus groups. And I remember the evaluator
coming out and saying, they won’t do it, it’s more
work, they don’t want more work. Obviously folks are overworked,
understaffed, they don’t want more work. We also understood
from those focus groups that many child welfare folks
did not understand the child only benefit. And they were not
telling people about it even though in some buildings they were in offices
across the hall. We then talked
with senior management. Laid out a plan
of implementation. Got buy-in with mid-level
management, that’s a tough lift sometimes. We did some trainings on kinship
issues at which we showed them the range of issues
that I alluded to earlier, with much more depth, to let them understand that these kinship families
really did face barriers. We did training
on how to do this. Sign on the form. Cajole them to get it. Sold them over. In three or four minutes. Stack them in the office. And get them to us. And we offered some incentives. If you wanted to identify
who made out the form, you got a free
Dunkin’ Donut card or a mug. Once a month we let folks know
what was going on. And then over the course
of the year things would falter. We watched to see if there
was getting to be any slack, and we went back in
and did other trainings or met with management and kind of incentivized
them to continue going. Next slide, please. Okay.
All right. When we do trainings,
I mentioned the resistance. I particularly want to talk
about child protective services. Very tough job. Very tough job. And yet in many instances not
all kids are going to wind up in foster care
who they have identified as possibly needing to get
out of the parent’s home. This is a critical matter
that we want to be sure folks don’t fall
through the cracks. On the TANF side,
most of the workers are more familiar
with kinship families and are meeting them in a more
sunny setting, so to speak. And they – they had
a more receptive idea of wanting to use this. Okay. So we got the buy in
and the training, particularly the child welfare
folks, recognize the value. And one of the values was
if they were cutting them loose, they weren’t cutting them loose and not getting them to someone who was going to be
involved with them. So even though it might just be
in the case management notes, to feel that we’re continuing
to serve them, that was a good thing
for the caseworker. They were very happy about that. Next slide, please. I’ve got a couple more minutes,
and I’ll just mention here that not only did we do outreach
via this referral process, but we held convenings
in the counties. Child welfare folks,
and TANF folks, and their management came in and reached out to other
agencies, nonprofits. We got together
and formed task force. We held events,
what we called summits. Brought in speakers. And one way or another we wanted to increase awareness
in the county because there are just
all these organizations, all these agencies, are coming
across kinship families. The schools themselves,
huge opportunity. Day care. All sorts of times when we get
referrals from daycare. So we took this outreach
procedure and permission to contact,
and not only did it with the Department
of Social Services agencies, we’re now using it
in schools, daycare, churches and other places. Next, please. All right. So, you as service providers on
the TANF and child welfare side, are there other ways you can
help us connect kinship families to the services? Well, in New York State, by law you have
to advertise these grants, and how you advertise
them is up to you. The website is nice,
but it can be buried there. Informational material
in the offices and on the walls of both
the child welfare and temporary assistance
offices are key. And doing your own promotion
across the state to your partners
is really important. Making internal referrals from
child welfare directly to TA. You may – if you don’t have
a kinship service provider, that permission to contact form can go right over
to the TA people. Maybe they could call up
the family and make sure that they
come in to get the benefit. And then, of course,
you could make the referrals as I’ve described
to a kinship navigator or to a local kinship program using the different techniques we’re identifying here. Training. Staff really,
really there are staff still who think the fruit
doesn’t fall far from the tree. Or as they like to say in the –
nobody likes to say it – the perpetuation of intergenerational
dysfunctionality. Okay. See if you can
remember that, okay? Interagency collaborations
between the nonprofit world and the local service providers, not only on the local level,
but on the state level. And, of course,
events and forums that educate
are always important. And lastly, in your service plan
identifying what your goals are for what are the foster care
percentages of your population and goals for your
public assistance folks in a similar vein, could be really important
to incentivize staff and to make them realize
we can do better. Next slide, please. Okay. Outreach to kinship families. We talked about the permission
to contact form, I mentioned earlier this form. You can go to my website
and see the trailer. The film is really
a beautiful portrayal of a Native American,
African-American, and Caucasian family
here in New York with a caregiver’s
point of view. Totally really their words. It’s not stylized. And it’s inspirational. And for caregivers
and for workers, it humanizes terrifically. We have been promoting
September as Kinship Care Month. Kinship Caregiver Month. And that has been – a U.S.
Senate Resolution. Nine states have done it. And in New York every year
in the capital and around the state, we have
celebrations, awards, luncheons. And it really helps promote
awareness of that issue. And I think I’m almost done. Next slide. All right, I’m done. And I hope I’ve helped. If you have any questions, I will hang around
and answer them. And thank you for your time. Thank you so much, Gerard. So before you now you
should see on the screen our next polling question. What types of additional support
can your TANF families receive as a result of
a strong collaboration with your child
welfare program? And you can check
all that apply. So we’ll give you a few seconds
to respond to that one before we move on
to our next presenter. Okay. Thanks everyone
for your responses. So we’ll now move on
to Holly and Deborah. Good morning. My name is Holly Morales. Well, actually it’s probably
afternoon in some places. I have here with me
Deborah Northburg. And we’ll take the
opportunity to take turns and tell you about the services that we have here at Cook
Inlet Tribal Council. Next slide. This is a picture
of the building that we are in here
in Anchorage, Alaska. We’re a tribal
nonprofit organization. We assist mostly Alaska Native
and American Indian people of all cultures
that reside in the Cook Inlet region located
in south-central Alaska through a variety of impactful
and innovative programs and services
that empower our people. Next slide. This is a picture
of our service area for Cook Inlet Tribal Council. In Alaska we’re a little
bit different than what we call the Lower 48. We don’t have reservations
except for one. Our service area is
a designated area that we can provide services. It’s called the Cook
Inlet Region. Like I mentioned earlier,
we are in Anchorage, Alaska. The population
is around 300,000. Anchorage is right in the middle
of the green service area. And so the green area
is the service area, and it’s the northern –
to the – sorry. With the northernmost point
140 miles north of Anchorage and the southernmost
point 255 miles. If you see Anchorage, and above
Anchorage in the green area is where this particular
grant is servicing. Some of the communities that we
have are inaccessible by road. For example,
the village of Tyonek that’s to the left of Anchorage on the western boundary
of the Region lies across the Cook Inlet and can only be reached
by bush plane. Also, traveling south to
the village of Seldovia requires us to drive
four-and-a-half hours and then taking a ten-minute
flight over the Kachemak Bay. Next slide. Our values at Cook Inlet
Tribal Council. The first one is we
are interdependent. We trust one another and work as
a team towards our common goals. We recognize that each of us has an equally important role
in the community and that we’re stronger
together as individuals. Our next value is
we are resilient. We look to the future
with steadfast optimism, hope, and faith in our people. We engage in solutions and
endure adversity with courage. Our next value
is accountability. We’re reliable, we work with
integrity, and lead by example. We honor our obligations
and correct our mistakes. Our last value is respectful. We treat one another
with dignity and kindness. We value and embrace our
diversity, respect ourselves, and understand our boundaries. You can see there
from our vision that we focus a lot
on our youth, so the stewards of our future. And a lot of our services
are geared towards youth-driven to recognize the potential
that they have. Next slide. So I’ll go over a little bit
about as an organization what we do. I think it’s important
to give you a full picture of all the services
that we provide. And all the services
really help us to see where we can collaborate further beyond this
current grant we have. Like I said before, we are
a tribal nonprofit organization. We serve Alaska Natives
and American Indians. Our services are broken out
between four core departments. Educational services, which
focuses more on youth services. Employment and training
services, which is where I work. And child and family services. And recovery and
reentry services. Next slide. Next slide. Okay. As an organization we have over
50 programs and services. More than 11,500 individuals
that we served last year. And our annual budget
is more than $65 million. And we employ approximately
275 passionate and caring individuals. Next slide. Okay. So the first department
that I’ll talk about is the education department. We have achieved a 93%
graduation rate in the services provided
at Cook Inlet Tribal Council as compared to 57% among
the Anchorage school district Alaska Native and American
Indian students. The overall percentage
for the school district is 76%. Our high school programs operate within the Anchorage
school district, RCITC’s longest-running
youth program. We’ve expanded – we’ve expanded
its culturally-informed STEM skill-building program to an additional 580 middle
school students last near. And nearly 2,000-plus students
were served last year in the Youth
Services department. We also currently this week
are hosting the Native Youth Olympics, which are traditional games taught within school
districts across Alaska. CITC hosts an annual
competition, and that brings in more
than 1,000-plus students from across the state of Alaska. Next slide. Recovery services is they
provide comprehensive treatment to assist individuals
within all stages of recovery from substance abuse
or addiction. It includes assessment, detox,
individual and group counseling, and help in assessing
and increasing support through a peer-to-peer
network to maintain sobriety. The director is always
talking about their peer-to-peer services and how every person
that receives services is always impacted
by peer-to-peer and has access to
peer-to-peer services. They served over
1,400 individuals throughout outpatient,
residential, peer support, and reentry services last year. And 79% of detox participants
reported no use after 12 months. Sixty-two percent
indicating access to stable housing
six months after treatment. And then our Chanlyut program,
there are 22 new individuals, which is a self-sustaining
program that self-sustains
through micro enterprises. It’s mirrored after a program
in California called Delancy Street. Next slide. Self-sufficiency. This is our employment
and training services department to highlight a few
of our accomplishments. We had over 700 – we assisted
over 700 participants getting employed last year. A $9.41 average hourly
wage increase from when they entered our door. More than 400-plus participants
moved from welfare to work, and over 1,700 children
were receiving our services through the childcare
assistance program. Through our Health Professions
Opportunity Grant that we received
through ACF, we assist with medical coding and billing training,
LPN, RN, CNA, PCA. We had over 135 students
enrolled last year, and we graduated 53 students
in healthcare careers. Next slide. So the next one is children
and families. That’s the department
Deborah works in. And it is dedicated
to promoting safe, secure, and healthy families who learn new skills
to improve relationships and establish healthy
behavioral practices. They help families recover
from and/or prevent abuse, neglect, and domestic violence
through case management, teaching,
and mentoring services. They served over 400 families engaged in their reunification
services last year. Eighty-six individuals enrolled in their healthy
relationships classes. Fifty-six families enrolled
in family preservation programs. And we do have a new program, and last year
they served 49 children in our Early Head Start Center. It’s very new and exciting. They have a brand new
renovated building. It’s absolutely beautiful
for our – our little ones. Next slide. Good morning and afternoon. My name is Deborah. And why cooperation? We’ve long – we’ve long
since been aware in our tribal TANF program that there are families
who have multiple barriers and needs who are receiving
our TANF services. We recently conducted
a community needs and readiness assessment for another
grant-funded project. And highlighted the study that
was done by Gerard and others to help us describe
what the data says about our population served. And so the study asked how much
does each of these factors increase the risk of a family
being involved in child protection. The data that the study used is the Alaska Surveillance
of Child Abuse and Neglect (inaudible)
epidemiological data. Next slide, please. So, factors that
increase involvement with child protection. The three factors that were
most significant were, of course, public aid
as a source of family income. We understand the relationship between the toxic
stress of poverty and child protection
involvement. There also seems to be a factor of increased surveillance of people as compared to others
in the community when you are receiving your
income from a public aid system. Our mothers
are generally younger than the rest of
the Anchorage population. And the other rates of –
the other ratios for factors are incarceration
and homelessness are particularly acute
for our population. Next slide. The other factors
for involvement that are more recently
significant for our community are the use of opioids
and other drugs. The state of Alaska was delayed
in this particular epidemic. It has certainly
become a factor, particularly within
the last several years. And increasing the need
for collaboration. The other factor,
as was mentioned before, is the high rate of cases
in our population. In addition, the rates of
homelessness and incarceration and other adult chronic traumas impact our population
as well as historical trauma. Next slide. So as Holly mentioned, the ITC
is particularly well positioned to collaborate among critical services
for families who receive TANF and are at risk of child
welfare involvement. It’s important to note that CITC
does not have care and authority responsibility for children in our region. But we partner with the state’s
child protective services system and work hand-in-hand
for our population. We sought funding to improve
our collaboration in 2006. Our first grant was entitled
the Agency Without Walls. And this was an ACF grant
geared toward TANF and child welfare collaboration. We see this really as our
exploratory infrastructure phase of our collaboration process. First we sought to match data
across our data systems within our services
that we provide. We focused on three core service
areas: our tribal TANF program, our child and family
services program, and our recovery
services program. And we discovered, of course, that we had many participants
in common across the systems. We endeavored to describe
the outcomes of participants who were involved
in the three programs, and noted in this project
that those participants did better
post-rating of the North Carolina
Family Assessment Scale, particularly on the domains
of parental capacity and child wellbeing. Concurrently, we sought
to rethink our leadership structure. In the process of looking
at an agency without walls and increasing collaboration, we flattened our
leadership structure and created
a President’s Council and a CITC Leadership Council. The function of these two groups
was to, in real time, address issues
that directly impact with the provision
of services to families. The CLC Leadership Council
included not just direct
service directors that are our four
core service areas, but also included
directors of accounting, and MIS, and IT. And facilities. And HR. The goal was to
determine which – which decisions could be best
served by developing a process for consensus building
across the organization and soliciting information
that was really necessary in making better decisions on behalf of the organization. The other milestone
that occurred in this particular project was the development
of a common intake for all programs
in the organization. The goal was to create no wrong
door to organizational services. And the purpose of the common
application is twofold, really. First to create ease of access
for our participants. And secondly, to begin a common
dataset across all services that we can use for planning and continued
quality improvement. Next slide, please. We sought additional
funding in 2011 and were awarded a grant, a tribal TANF and child welfare
grant entitled Luqu Kenu, which translates to
“Everyone is Family”. This really was the phase
in which we translated what we had learned
in our first project to direct services
with our participants. We began by creating some cross-
department engagements and ownership. Looking to create leadership at
all levels of the organization. And we initiated a meeting
among our tribal TANF and child and family services staff. The purpose of the meeting
was to identify mutual goals and outcomes among our services. Create a common language
among our staff. Dispel some cherished
beliefs or myths that our staff had of one
another in the work that we did. For example, the term
“case management” meant very different things
in our tribal TANF program and our family services program. We had conversations about
accountability, and enabling, and came about with a way
of determining some joint outcomes that we would look at. And that laid the foundation
for adopting a screening tool for all of our tribal
TANF participants. We utilized a form of the
protected factors survey and used this as a way
to identify the families in our tribal TANF program who were most
in need of services and were at risk of
child abuse or neglect. We see this both as a case
management tool implementing if the participant allows
our tribal TANF staff to have conversations
beyond the movement to work and looking at the whole family rather than just the
efforts of the parents. And it’s a tool for supervisors
to coach staff and identify needs for the
families and making referrals, both internal and external. We have continued to leverage
this process to better understand our
participants in another project by incorporating some domestic
violence screening questions within our screening process
for TANF participants. And have used this as a way to
connect internally to services for families. In this project we also
dedicated a liaison between departments. The goal of this liaison was
to increase communication between our tribal TANF
and child welfare staff. And to serve as a liaison
for referrals to services. This person would also
provided direct services, more intensive
in-home case management than the TANF workers with higher case loads
were able to do. Such referrals were
prioritized for families who identified themselves
as having the most need through our screening process. And this provided a – this tied
our services to a recent change in our tribal TANF plan that allowed us to provide
short-term cash assistance to parents who had
a child welfare – child protection placement of
their children while on TANF. These parents were able
to obtain short-term reduced cash benefits to prevent some of
the cascading consequences of having your children –
a child removed from your care. With the hope of not
disrupting housing and other core services
for the parents. We also implemented
cross-department shared training in the child protection
practice model. As I mentioned, we have a strong
partnership with the state and local child protection
office in Anchorage as well as the University
of Alaska Child Welfare Academy who provides all of the training to the child protection
social workers. We have implemented
a practice model training and a strengthening
families training beginning with our tribal TANF and our child welfare staff with the goal of creating
a common understanding across our programs and with the child
protection system about how is safety
operationalized? What does it look like? What are the possibilities
of aligning goals and objectives on the family self-sufficiency
plan and family service plan. To reduce duplication
or any confusion for families. And to increase accountability
across systems with staff and participants. Next slide, please. We translated this experience
to another application for tribal TANF and child
welfare collaboration, and began an enhanced version
of our Luqu Kenu program. Expanding the shared child
welfare practice model training to our other departments, recovery services and education. So we recognized over
the course of providing this training mutually
to tribal TANF and child and family service staff was that there was
some additional benefits of understanding
what the practice model was and the process of team
decision-making meetings where child placement
decisions were made. And we saw an increase in the
rate of our tribal TANF workers who had an established
relationship with families in those meetings. So it’s a benefit
for many reasons, primarily because
that will initiative the short-term cash assistance from TANF post-placement. But, additionally,
the tribal TANF workers are able to provide information that perhaps not other workers may have including
kinship relationship that could be a potential
relative placement and reduce the rate of children
going into a stranger placement. We also have endeavored
to expand services within the region. And we are providing services
both in the urban center and our local rural area
within the Cook Inlet region. We are looking at developing
a data and evaluation plan, and we engaged an
external evaluator to do so to better understand and describe the changes as a result of the collaboration
that we’re doing. And we are aligning our data
systems, both immediate so that we can share
at the direct staff level plan, and long-range planning. We have moved through the stages
of collaboration during this process. Next slide, please. Beginning at networking. Before the grant funding,
we had siloed services driven by funding with
very little overlap. We moved to cooperation
through the organized continuous quality
improvement team. That happened quarterly. And we began looking at data
across systems. The grant funding allowed us
to move into coordination looking at our leadership
structure and sustainability as a values-driven organization. And we are slowly moving
through the process of coalition and collaboration. Our initiative focus
planning was anchored to our data philosophy
and our common intake. And we are at the point of
improving our collaboration at the system level
through the functions of the leadership council. Next slide, please. Lessons learned. We have learned through
this process that collaboration
is a journey, not a destination. That this process must
accommodate contextual shifts such as changes
in the state economy and social conditions
and shifting funding priorities. Everyone is a leader across
all levels of the organization. Leaders and direct staff
must all be involved in the systemic and
programmatic change planning. We made efforts to
engage stakeholders in our sustainability planning. And we included staff,
participants, thought leaders, and partners. That the process planning
for changes in leadership and how that translated
to direct services has been enhanced. We found that we need to find
champions of change to sustain engagement
and motivation, particularly at the direct
services staff level. And that the process of
collaboration must be documented and evaluated
to sustain progress. We need to understand what it is
that we need to collect in order to tell the story of
the benefits of collaboration. And are working with an
external evaluator to do so now. We also recognize that
the articulation of values creates the foundation to align
both outcomes and data. This is a part of our
sustainability process and generated the four values that Holly spoke about
at the beginning. And we learned that building
collaboration creates a mindset and translatable skills that apply to other
external partnership collective impact efforts. The result of one of those
is the co-location of a contracted
domestic violence victim advocacy coordinator within our tribal TANF program contracted with
our local DV shelter. Next slide. I know that our portion is –
is ending, or actually ended, so I’m going to go through
this very quickly. But where do we go from here? Sustainability
of grant-drive efforts. So we are always looking for
resources in order to continue the work that we’re doing
in collaborating. Maybe looking at
existing resources and how we can realign those
to keep these services going because it is so critical
for our tribal TANF families to have access to
child welfare services prior to any kind of removal. Trying to be more proactive
instead of reactive. We’re doing a strategic agency initiative to develop a common
assessment and outcome tool. That’s what we’re
working on right now across the different departments
that we talked about earlier. And we’re also in the process of developing a family information system, which is a huge undertaking. And it’s probably going to take
about three to five years, but it’s so important that
our system supports the work that we’re doing
across departments. Thank you very much. That was our presentation. Thank you so much,
Holly and Deborah. So we’re going to move now into
our Q&A portion of the webinar. So if you have any questions,
you may submit them through the Q&A box in the upper
right corner of your screen. Again, if you have questions
for a specific presenter, please state that
in your submission. And Stephen, do we have
any questions available yet? Yes, we have a couple. I’ll start with the first one
from Kristen Shouman. And she mentions that
“they find that one obstacle is often childcare. It’s expensive and TANF dollars are not enough to cover
childcare expenses. And there are times
when they don’t qualify for childcare subsidies.” She was looking for
a recommendation. Well this is Holly at Cook
Inlet Tribal Council. Within the employment
training services department, that’s where we have
the tribal TANF program. Fortunately enough
our TANF program is able to provide
100% childcare subsidies. Obviously, in Alaska
childcare is expensive because of the cost of living. And at times, unfortunately, the
subsidy, the maximum pay amount, does not cover
the entire amount. We have worked in partnership
with the Luqu Kenu program to figure out
a long-term solution or using supportive
services at times. But, unfortunately, that does
sometimes mean that they will go with in-home care
versus a center, which is at times
higher quality care. But we also house in
the same department a childcare assistance program. Our TANF can do post-TANF
childcare services for up to 12 months, but because of funding
we can now do it for two months, and then we have
families transition to our childcare
assistance program, which is subsidy
based on income. I know this is
a constant struggle. We have our Early Head
Start program where if they are eligible
under our services, we do waive the co-pay because it’s a childcare
partnership program so they’re typically
have a subsidy but we’ve worked it out
with our CCDF program so we can waive those
subsidies for families. The thing is
consistently looking at the services you’re providing and how you can make changes that are allowable under
the law regulations in order to meet
the needs of the family. Thank you. And we have an additional
question from Jesse Parr. And that is, “is there any data
on the number of kinship providers who did not apply
for TANF benefits or become licensed
foster care providers due to the federally-mandated
child support obligation that would accrue
against their family?” Well, you hit one of
the really rough topics in the child-only grant area which is the obligation
for the parents to support and how that is a deterrent
to kinship families seeking this grant. We, offhand, I mean we have – our database has our number
of kinship applicants, and we ask them whether they
are successful in getting it. I’d have to go back and see if
we have data on why they didn’t – if we had categorical data
or why they didn’t go for it. But I know the state agency
doesn’t collect that data. I’d make a comment on it
that in New York, one of the values of having
a kinship navigator program in the state capital has been,
for the past 18 years, that we are a partner
with the legislature and with the state agencies in trying to improve
circumstances for these families. And one of the things we’ve done is enhance the exemptions
from providing – cooperating with information about the parents
for the caregivers. There’s an exemption
that has always been around, which is a good-cause exemption
for domestic violence. But we’ve added one that says
if the caregiver believes that they themselves
or the child would be subject to emotional or physical harm if they gave this information,
they are exempt. And the other thing, and I don’t
know if this is federal law, but in New York State,
the social services law says that the penalty
for failure to cooperate for providing information
about the parents is a 25% reduction in the grant, it is not an elimination
of the grant. And even in New York
where we have that law, again I don’t know if it’s national, but we do find local departments
will tell people, if you don’t help us,
you won’t get the grant, and that’s a misrepresentation
of what the law says. So information can be
helpful there. All right.
Thank you. Unless there are
additional questions, those were the two
questions that we had. And I’ll just throw out one
question for both Holly and/or Deborah and Gerard. What was your biggest challenge
in building your coordinated approach and how did you overcome it? My program –
what I presented on today, was actually an element
of the program that we thought was a key factor in not having families
fall through the cracks. I mean, the service array
and all that is another story. But not having families wind up
in that awful example I gave you, which is a quote
from a grandmother about eight years
without services, we wanted that to happen. And when we went in to talk to
the temporary assistance people, there was not
much resistance there. But on the child welfare side,
there was resistance. And I can sum it up in the fact
that they are overwhelmed, and they did not want
another thing to do. And yet when we were able to
explain to them the circumstances which I kind of briefly alluded
to in the presentation, and kind of humanized
these families, and seeing – let them see,
as many of them did originally but certainly
kind of augmenting, what a resource they were
for the child welfare system and how successful
they could be, that when they understood
that they were not having to just let them go, so to speak,
they bought into it. So it was a conversation
with information and based on the good
will of the child welfare folks who were there
for the right reason. They’re there to help children. This is Deborah. We noted many challenges
throughout the process of collaboration, time and resource being
the most challenging factors in moving toward
a more collaborative, coordinated service. As mentioned, the sustainability
planning that allowed us to come together with input and determine
some shared values is something that we have used
to create engagement and motivation
around working together. The other most important thing
is being able to demonstrate the positive impact
on participants that we share when
we work better together. And we recognize
in our relationship with the state system they are also very,
very overwhelmed and asking that the TANF workers or the child protection
services workers to add something else
is not very effective, and so we consistently look to
find efficiencies in the system and highlight any value
added to the process that reduces
some of their burden. It’s an ongoing conversation. Thanks to both of you. Are there other questions,
Stephen? At this point there are
no additional questions. Okay.
All right. So we can go ahead and move into
our next polling question then. So, as a result of today’s
webinar, what is one thing you will do differently
to strengthen coordination with your child
welfare programs? And we’ll give you
a few moments to reply. First person to reply
gets a free Dunkin’ Donut $10.00 gift card! Just one more second, and then
we’ll move to our final poll. Great. Thanks, everyone,
for your responses. So we can go ahead and move
into our final poll question. So last but not least, what topics would you like
to see in future webinars? Great. Thanks, everyone. So as we begin to wrap up,
you can also help us expand our network and reach a greater
number of people by directing
interested colleagues from your local
and state networks and agencies to our website, which is showing on
the screen before you. Also, as another reminder,
a transcript and audio recording of today’s webinar
will be available shortly on the PeerTA network
website within the coming weeks. We’d also like to hear from you
about future webinar topics, as we just mentioned earlier. So you can send those ideas by email as well
through the [email protected] At the end of the webinar
you’ll see a brief survey that will launch
as the webinar ends. So I’d like to thank everyone, especially our presenters,
Gerard, Holly, Deborah, and Liliana, for presenting us today. And thank you all so much for participating
in today’s webinar. And we thank you again. So please provide your feedback
on the webinar survey that will appear
as we end the presentation. Thank you all so much, and enjoy
the remainder of your day.

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