The Office of Forecasting, Research and Analysis (OFRA) is a shared service supporting both DHS and OHA. Because OFRA studies the factors driving demand for services in both agencies, the unit is well positioned to identify and raise issues that cross agency boundaries – particularly with respect to caseload.
OFRA strives to operate in an objective, transparent, and independent manner to establish statewide caseload forecasts for all major DHS|OHA entitlement programs, as well as caseload related research/analysis to support budgeting, policy development, and operational planning. Forecasts are provided for :
· DHS – Aging and People with Disabilities, Child Welfare, Developmentally Disabled, Self Sufficiency, Vocational Rehabilitation Services;
· OHA – Medical Assistance Programs, KidsConnect, Addictions and Mental Health.
Each major caseload area has a Caseload Forecast Advisory Committee with members from DHS|OHA, the Governor (DAS CFO staff) and the Legislature (LFO) to review, discuss, and advise on OFRA’s forecasts. In addition, OFRA also surveys additional subject matter experts including field managers and stakeholder groups to solicit their perspective and input.
For program areas with sufficient detail about where clients are located, OFRA establishes regional caseload forecasts. Regional forecasts are prepared for: DHS – Aging and People with Disabilities, Self Sufficiency Programs; OHA – Medical Assistance Programs. OFRA also supports DHS|OHA management with information about how clients use program services over time, from multiple programs, how use varies around the state, etc.
To support the forecasting process, OFRA maintains an enterprise-wide Integrated Client Services Data Warehouse (ICS) containing client data from all major DHS and OHA program areas. Client-level data from Employment, Corrections, Housing and Community Services will soon be incorporated. Subject to approval, ICS data is available to analysts throughout DHS|OHA and participating agencies.
Where OFRA staff have unusual specialized skills (e.g. spatial/mapping analysis, surveys/qualitative analysis) OFRA’s technical experts improve the productivity of other agency staff by providing assistance, training, and coaching as time allows.