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Safe Children – Strong, Supported Families: Differential Response

Safe Children – Strong, Supported Families: Differential Response4/20/2015

From: DHS Child Welfare Director Lois Day 

To: All DHS Child Welfare Staff & Oregon Stakeholders 
(Please FW to your local partner/stakeholder lists)
Congratulations to Child Welfare Districts 4 and 16 (Linn, Benton, Lincoln and Washington counties), our new Differential Response (DR) districts. After great preparation and readiness work these districts went live with DR in April. We now have a total of four districts practicing DR with three more that will start getting ready this summer for a November 2015 go live date.

District 4 Manager Marco Benavides says his staff is energized and ready to take on the change. They commemorated the kick off with a Traditional and Alternative breakfast. Despite getting slammed with CPS cases, unrelated to the DR start, that same day staff remained positive and they are conducting daily briefings to support each other and learn together. Marco says the guidance and leadership of the DR consultants has been critical to good work and high staff morale.  

District 16 Manager Rolanda Garcia says the DR consultants did a fabulous job of preparing her staff. She sees universal excitement for the system shift and daily communication is keeping rumors under control. This district celebrated kick off during their breaks complete with goodies and music. Rolanda also praises the DR consultants for their readiness work and their guidance during this tremendous journey.

We are learning so much from all four of our DR districts. Their hard work and feedback is helping us continue to revise our implementation plan and improve our practice as we go statewide. 

We look forward to hearing more from our DR districts. Coming up next, we will share our evaluation plan.

Safe Children – Strong, Supported Families: Differential Response 3/31/2015
From: DHS Child Welfare Director Lois Day

To: All DHS Child Welfare Staff & Oregon Stakeholders
(Please FW to your local partner/stakeholder lists)

By April 2015 Oregon will have four Child Welfare Districts practicing Differential Response (DR). The schedule for DR implementation is drafted and posted to our DR Communications website. According to the plan DR will be implemented statewide by the end of 2017. Since the schedule was posted we are receiving a lot of questions about what staff can do while they wait for their implementation date. Here is a list of six things that need to be done before DR reaches each district.

  1. Districts must get solid with the Oregon Safety Model (OSM). The OSM is our foundation for child safety decision making pre and post DR.
  2. Catch up on overdue assessments. The transition to DR will be easier if assessments are up to date.
  3. If it’s been awhile take a look at your gaps and needs as it relates to Strengthening, Preserving and Reunifying Families (SPRF) contracts. Analyze and determine if there are any new or missed gaps in service need and make adjustments before DR comes to your district.
  4. Look at your business processes and tighten up where there is a need.
  5. Use documents and guidance that the workforce readiness subcommittee created to help you hire the right people for a shifting practice. We want the right people helping us make this shift. Not familiar with these documents? Check with the district or program manager or supervisor.
  6. Familiarize your staff with the Family Engagement Toolkit and start having discussions about ways you can begin enhancing family engagement now.

These six actions will help you create a more calm, competent and confident workforce that will allow for a positive working environment. Transitioning to DR is a time of learning and we want to give you what you need in order for a successful and smooth transition.

Thanks so much for all your hard work.

Take care, ~Lois ​​

Safe Children – Strong, Supported Families: Differential Response2/18/2015

From: DHS Child Welfare Director Lois Day

To: All DHS Child Welfare Staff and Oregon Stakeholders (Please forward to your local partner/stakeholder lists!)

Our next Differential Response (DR) districts, 4 and 16, (representing Lincoln, Benton, Linn and Washington) are busy preparing for implementation in April. Since October these districts have been in what we call “the readiness phase.” That means they are orienting to what is DR and what is not, developing advisory committees, subcommittees, meeting with partners and contractors, working hard at mastering the Oregon Safety Model (OSM) and training staff and partners. All of this is being done, on top of regular daily duties. It’s a busy time.

You might be asking why it takes so long to implement DR; right now we are using a six-month period for readiness. Using implementation science principals we are working to give staff the resources and time they need to make this shift. DR is a major change in how we do our work and how an intervention is implemented can impact the outcomes of the intervention. We are striving for success so we are taking the time necessary to do this work right. As more districts implement the readiness phase could be adjusted.

In District 4, manager Marco Benavides says he and his staff are enjoying the ride of readiness. He advises his staff not to panic relying on the support of consultants and training. He is encouraging staff to volunteer for any task that relates to DR and consider it a learning experience and preparation for a change that is here to stay.

In District 16, manager, Rolanda Garcia says the district is very engaged in the readiness process and staff from Child Welfare and Self-Sufficiency are actively participating in subcommittee work and trainings offered. She also says the feedback from the DR orientations that they are providing has been very positive from partners and stakeholders in the community. Rolanda says her district is on track with their readiness plan and they are eager to begin serving families in April.

Thank you to Marco and Rolanda for sharing their DR readiness experience. We will keep you all updated as these districts continue the statewide implementation of DR.

Take care,


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