Governor Kitzhaber released his 2015-17 balanced budget last week. This budget includes additional Child Welfare staff to support investments aimed at safely and equitably reducing the number of children in foster care. There are several strategies that are supported in this budget, including additional resources to continue our implementation of Differential Response (DR). Based on these additional resources, we predict we will complete our statewide roll-out of DR in 2017.
Today, Districts 5 and 11 are practicing DR and Districts 4 and 16 are in the readiness phase, working toward a start in the spring of 2015. We have developed a draft schedule for statewide implementation which gives staff and communities an idea of when DR will be coming to their area. This is a draft schedule and we may need to make adjustments over time but below is our best thinking.
County/District Start DR
D11-Klamath, Lake 5/14
D4-Linn, Benton, Lincoln
D1-Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook
D9-Hood River, Wasco, Gilliam, Sherman, Wheeler
D13-Union, Wallowa, Baker
D14-Grant, Harney, Malheur 4/17
D3-Marion, Polk, Yamhill
D10-Jefferson, Crook, Deschutes 10/17
We gave thought to a number of factors in creating this schedule. When we developed the Oregon design for DR, we wanted to be sure our implementation was adequately supported and we felt comfortable that we would have consistency across the state and fidelity to the Oregon Safety Model (OSM) and our model of DR. The factors considered in creating this plan include the ability to provide sufficient support and coaching during the 6 month readiness period as well as post implementation: time to learn from the previous districts and make adjustments as needed; geography and travel schedules for coaching staff, and time for the districts to have peer to peer learning opportunities. As we move forward and learn from the counties that have implemented, we believe less preparation time may be needed as more districts are practicing DR and supporting each other. This could result in some acceleration in the schedule. If we encounter barriers we didn’t anticipate, it may result in statewide implementation taking longer. We will look for indicators of success and fidelity as we move through the districts to guide our schedule.
We remain committed to providing staff the resources needed to implement DR so that they can practice with fidelity after consultants move to the next counties. One of the important lessons learned from other states is that a staged implementation is critical because it allows for the accumulation of knowledge through trial and error. Often, the early counties encounter barriers, sometimes significant ones, which require problem solving and creative thinking. From their process of successfully working through practice changes and the removal of obstacles, they generate important knowledge that can then be shared with the next round of counties/regions. This process of internal, county-county TA has been described by many jurisdictions as critical to the success of their larger implementation process. Without such opportunities to develop and share knowledge, each wave must essentially reinvent the wheel all over again, and make themselves vulnerable to similar and new barriers the emerge. Our coaching model is one we adapted from other states and it has been essential in building the expertise of our staff so they can become DR experts in their own offices, guiding others in using the model and ultimately changing the front door to Oregon’s Child Welfare.
A change this big will not happen overnight. We have put a lot of thought into our state-wide roll out plan. Using implementation science principals we are working to give staff the resources and time they need to make this shift. Please contact me with any questions.