Using Data to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families
Children’s Home + Aid staff including Michaela Meckel, Director of Performance + Analytics, and Colleen McGroarty, Performance Analyst, attended the Illinois CQI Community’s 3rd Annual CQI Conference: “In Pursuit of Quality: Data Literacy” held in Champaign, IL in November.
Michaela and Colleen presented at the conference to more than 60 attendees on the topic of using data to monitor program outcomes and improve performance. Their presentation, “Getting to Best Results: Data-Driven Decision-Making in a Statewide Private Agency,” focused Children’s Home + Aid’s Best Stat process, the agency’s structured process to use data to improve program outcomes. Michaela and Colleen discussed how the Best Stat process was developed at Children’s Home + Aid as well as the successes and challenges that the Performance Analytics team has faced to date. Jeremy Harvey, Deputy Director of Strategic Planning and Innovation at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, presented alongside Michaela and Colleen to highlight upcoming DCFS initiatives that could provide data to private agencies, like Children’s Home + Aid, to use in concert with data-driven processes like Best Stat.
Children’s Home + Aid began the Best Stat process nearly three years ago as a way to systematically use data to improve program performance. Over the past three years, Best Stat has done a great deal to promote a data-driven culture in the agency, drive innovations in practice and improve agency and client outcomes.
At the Rice Child + Family Center in Evanston, staff have been committed to reducing the average length of stay to place clients back into family-like settings as quickly as is in the child’s best interest. Since implementing the Best Stat process, they have seen a 31% decrease in average length of stay (6.3 month reduction in average length of stay). Staff have also been working to reduce crises and restraints and have seen a 41% decrease in restraints since starting the Best Stat process in 2015.
Children’s Home + Aid recently expanded the Best Stat Process from its eight major program areas to agency-wide initiatives, including the Best People initiative with the aim of increasing employee retention and engagement by working to improve hiring, on boarding and supervisory practices. The agency also has prioritized infusing trauma-informed care to all levels of programming and services, and plans to bring this trauma-informed approach into the Best Stat process in 2018.