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Social Services to undergo reform

The Office of State Budget and Management, in consultation with the North Carolina Department of Health Human Services’ Division of Social Services, has awarded a $2.5 million contract to SLI Global Solutions LLC subsidiary, the Center for the Support of Families, to provide technical assistance that will strengthen the state’s social services and child welfare programs.

The award is part of a broader reform effort driven by the General Assembly via House Bill 630, The Family-Child Protection and Accountability Act, passed in 2017. Center for the Support of Families will consult with the Division of Social Services in a variety of areas, including research-based or best practice strategies in social services delivery, support and oversight, and the effective use of data to drive system and practice improvements.

“We look forward to working with CSF to bring meaningful improvements in supervision and accountability to our child welfare and social services systems and ensure that North Carolinians receive the services they need,” said DHHS Assistant Secretary for Human Services Michael Becketts. “CSF was selected based on the thoroughness of their proposal and their work with two states, a county and the federal government on projects that match up with our needs for enhancing services.”

The Center, based in Silver Spring, Md., provides consulting, training and technical assistance on social and human services issues. The organization’s experts include top authorities in child safety and risk, the needs of older youth and adolescents in placement, family and child strengths and needs assessment, child welfare interventions, effective social services delivery and the measurement of outcomes for children and families.

Goals of the social services and child welfare programs reform in House Bill 630 include:

-Improving outcomes for children and families

-Developing a child welfare reform plan that improves child protective services, preventive and in-home services for struggling families, child fatality oversight, placement of children in foster care, reunification and permanency services, assistance for older youth in foster care or those who aged out, and strategies to ensure a well-trained and adequately compensated staff

-Enhancing state supervision of local social services offices

-Improving accountability for outcomes at the local, regional and state levels

-Creating a Social Services System Transparency and Wellness Dashboard, which uses data from NC FAST to create a report that ensures funds are being effectively used through accountability and transparency

-Developing a plan for consistent, standardized continuous quality improvement for social services at the state, regional and county levels

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