Dear Partners and Friends of Children in Brevard,
This month I would like to take the opportunity to provide you with an update on some enhancements and modifications that will be taking place across our local System of Care in the near future as a result of a major shift in child welfare trends over the past 18 months. To provide a context for the proposed changes, I would like to briefly outline the current state of the system and inform you that I will be presenting a more in depth report across our community of practice beginning in September 2015.
BFP like all Community Based Care (CBC) Lead Agencies in the state have for the past 18-24 months begun to experience a shift in the child welfare environment. First, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of children entering out of home care. Our primary population has shifted from those receiving judicial in home services to those in out of home care. BFP has experienced a 35% increase in the number of children entering out of home care; and a historically high number of families entering the system in general. This has resulted in increased case management caseloads, the number of required visits, an increased demand for needed services, and is impacting case management retention in Brevard as well as statewide. This trend is illustrated in the chart below:
The care and protection of Brevard’s vulnerable children and families always remains first and foremost in our decision making. Consequently, BFP and IMPOWER leadership have together concluded that as a result of the change in environment our priorities must shift to adapt and as a result we need: 1) additional certified case managers to reduce caseloads to a more manageable level, 2) to increase retention, and 3) most importantly, ensure the provision and availability of quality care and services for the children and families we serve.
To that end, effective October 1, 2015, several changes will take place to enhance our System of Care.
- First, BFP will be contracting with a community provider to deliver a full continuum of visitation services with the expectation that the majority of visitation will be delivered through the new visitation contract. This is intended to alleviate the workload for case managers while ensuring families are afforded ample opportunity to visit frequently with their children and work towards timely reunification in a therapeutic manner.
- Second, the IMPOWER Care Coordinator positions will be eliminated to free up resources to convert to certified Case Management positions.
- Third, IMPOWER is aggressively recruiting new trainees, over hiring, and currently has 18 new employees receiving training.
- Forth, BFP will be assuming the role of service coordination and Family Team Conferencing by creating a single point of contact that will be located at each Care Center to streamline the referral process.
- Fifth, BFP will be recruiting a Case Practice Expert to work alongside Case Management staff and system partners in a supportive consultative capacity as was the case when BFP had 2 Care Center Manager positions.
BFP has demonstrated its firm commitment to serving our most vulnerable citizens for over a decade; and their well-being is our chief priority. We are working diligently to ensure this transition is as seamless as possible; and that you, our partners and friends remain informed and included in any changes to the local -System of Care.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any questions about the enhancements.
Dr. Patricia Nellius