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Observations regarding the April 7 Committee on Human Services Hearing on the Proposed Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services FY 2012 Budget
The hearing is on-demand at http://oct.dc.gov/services/on_demand_video/on_demand_April_2011_week_2.shtm . Public witnesses start at 00:15:30 (segment 1) and continue through the end of segment 2. Only a portion of the witnesses had time to testify; the DYRS representatives will testify May 5. After watching the hearing twice, I have made the following observations: One: Data collection continues to challenge providers and the lead entities. Some of this has to do with the not very clear goals and expectations of DYRS. However, data – especially outcome data – is essential and rigor and consistency must be the standard for all involved with this community-based model. Intake can be improved. It appears that intake is done by each program for each young person. This practice wastes resources and can be addressed with an electronic intake platform where information is validated by each provider. A related issue is the quality of the staff person conducting the intake. High quality intake is a skill and requires training. Three: Electronic record keeping and using innovative ways of entering data is necessary to 1) improve services for the youth, 2) avoid duplication and 3) minimize the administrative burden of record keeping. Appropriately keeping track of staff time spent on work associated with contracts is essential to 1. make the case for increased funding 2. determine the need to modify contracts and expectations 3. track staff more money or program changing 4. track relationship between work and youth outcomes 5. minimize liability issues 6. comply with GAAP Insufficient time and energy is being invested by DYRS, the lead entities and community partners to address the problems and challenges shared by community-based providers. The practice of not inviting community-based providers to FTMs is limiting the effectiveness of the model and future work with young people and their families. Lead entities are not playing the leadership role they should be to make the initiative as successful as it could be. Improvements can be made in case coordination, policy and practice development and implementation and resolving region-specific challenges. DYRS is not playing a leadership role in the new practice model. It seems to be pushing work onto the lead entities and community-based organizations rather than helping create a system that would support youth and their families. 4/13/11
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