Hello Community Partners,

As most of you are now aware, Brevard Family Partnership (BFP), the lead agency for community-based child welfare services in Brevard County, announced on February 18 that it had awarded IMPOWER a four-year case management contract, valued up to $4.5 million annually. Through a competitive process, IMPOWER bid on and was awarded the right to negotiate to operate all case management services in Brevard County. The initial contract term begins July 1, 2014 and runs through June 30, 2018.

Through this weekly correspondence, I’ll be keeping you informed of the case management transition activities as they’re occurring. We want you to know, foremost, that during this time we’re continuing to ensure the safety and well-being of Brevard’s vulnerable children remains paramount.

We are grateful to our partners, Children’s Home Society of Florida and Devereux Florida for their case management services to Brevard’s vulnerable children over the past 10 years and for their steadfast commitment to a smooth, well-executed transition process. We look forward to strong and continued partnerships with both as they serve Brevard’s children and families through their other outstanding community based programs.

By way of introduction, IMPOWER, founded in 1994 under the name Intervention Services, Inc., is a non-profit agency providing services in Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, and Volusia counties, with offices in each. It serves more than 9,000 individuals and families through a continuum of services provided in homes, schools, and community-based settings.

Through this new partnership, BFP anticipates that service delivery system enhancements provided by IMPOWER will result in more youth remaining safely at home and within their local communities and schools, and fewer entering the dependency care system. Additionally, fewer children with high-level complex needs will require therapeutic, intensive, out-of-home placements and when such placements are needed, the length of stay will be shorter without sacrificing safety. More youth, ages 15-17 years, will be able to access and receive services needed to help them transition to adulthood. And parents or families entering the system will receive a tailored mix of evidence-based services and more intensive supports to resolve health and safety threats, including substance abuse issues.

Leading the transition for IMPOWER in Brevard County is Ms. Amanda Dawson, Director of Child Well Being. Amanda oversees all Child Well Being and dependency related programs for IMPOWER and will provide direct supervision and oversight for Brevard’s Case Management Program Managers. She is currently allocating her time between the Rockledge and Palm Bay Care Centers.

Amanda has worked closely with lead child welfare agencies and within the dependency system for over 10 years and is excited to add the Brevard case management to her programs.

During the start-up and transitioning phase, she will work closely with IMPOWER COO, Lisa Peyton to ensure that the needs and desires of BFP are met and that the transitioning of staff and cases occur in a positive manner with minimal disruptions to children, families and staff.  She will lead weekly transition meetings and determine the agenda, incorporating input from BFP and current CMA leaders and staff.  Amanda will be available to BFP and CMA staff for support, guidance and communication as often as needed during the transition. She will also participate in all staff interviews and work closely with current CMA leaders to ensure a smooth transition.

Amanda will also provide direct supervision and support for the two Brevard CMA Program Managers on an on-going basis.  She will meet with each manager on a weekly basis to discuss cases, review performance, and develop and monitor quality and performance plans. She’ll also participate in BFP Operations meetings and will attend other BFP and community meetings in order to build and maintain a strong and supportive relationship among our board, executive leadership and partners.

Since the announcement of IMPOWER’s case management contract award, much has been accomplished to ensure a smooth transition of services that continue to provide for the safety and well-being of children and families. Of chief concern is maintaining a stable workforce with as little disruption possible to those entrusted to our care; we’ve done that by creating an open and transparent process.

There have been several formal and informal town hall-style meetings with current case management staff to better acquaint them with IMPOWER and to answer any questions they may have. IMPOWER also communicates frequently with staff and leaders, in an effort to ensure everyone remains informed and is afforded a voice and role in the transition plan. This includes bi-monthly conference calls with stakeholders to ensure all are involved and aware of the transition plan and related activities.

While not yet under contract, IMPOWER has taken a proactive role to seamlessly transition case management. To date, they have conducted numerous interviews and filled the following positions: Program Managers – 2; Supervisors – 8; Care Coordinator Lead- 1; Care Coordinator Specialists – 3; Utilization Review Lead – 1;  and Utilization Review Specialists – 3.

All current case managers who expressed interest in a position with IMPOWER were interviewed. Of the 44 Case Manager positions available, 21 have been filled. Of the eight Family Support Worker positions, three have been filled and the remaining vacancies are pending.

To date, IMPOWER has offered 40 positions, all of which have been accepted. To ensure external candidates who are hired will be certified and ready to begin on July 1, BFP has scheduled the next pre-service class to begin on May 12, 2014. In addition, BFP has requested that IMPOWER over hire by 10 positions to ensure adequate staff are trained and available through the early phase of transition and implementation.

We look forward to a smooth transition and enhancements to already outstanding programs and services that have been developed through our many community partnerships.

With thanks to everyone,