DCF has worked to implement performance measures in all of its social service contracts. Although many providers have included such measures in their contracts for a number of years, DCF has recently taken a few steps to formally integrate the concept statewide. In 2009, DCF focused on creating like measures for similar types of services in order to establish consistency in the way it measures the effectiveness of similar types of services.
Beginning in August 2012, DCF convened a series of focus groups with internal and external stakeholders representing a number of different program areas. The purpose of the focus groups was to clarify program goals and refine existing outcomes to ensure that they are in alignment. The framing questions for each focus group were: “What do we expect to see as a result of service delivery?” and “How do we know if we have met that expectation?”.
During each session, we reviewed and discussed existing performance measures and targets until we reached general consensus on the things being measured, the benchmarks to be achieved, how to track measurements, and what documents or information could be used to demonstrate the impact that DCF funded services have on children, youth and families.
These most recent refinement efforts focused on the following programs/service areas:
- School-Based Youth Services (High School only)
- Therapeutic Visitation
- Supervised Visitation
- Adolescent Transitional Housing
- Adolescent Life Skills
- Partial Care/Partial Hospitalization
- PALS (Peace: A Learned Solution)
- Project Myself
- Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
Based on our discussions, DCF revised the instructions and template for Section 2.3 of the Annex A to more clearly articulate goals, outcome measures and the work providers undertake to achieve them.
A printable version of the revised template can be downloaded by clicking HERE. Completed Section 2.3’s for each of the service areas noted above can be downloaded by clicking on the appropriate link in the menu on the right.
DCF will continue to convene focus groups during FY 14 and looks forward to partnering with the rest of its service providers around this important work. Until we have reviewed each service category, programs that do not appear on the list above should continue to operate under the measures that currently appear in their contracts. For a printable version of the outcomes that first went into effect on January 1, 2010, click HERE.
As a Department we are committed to these collaborative efforts and believe they help ensure that the best and most effective services are provided to New Jersey's children and families.