In the pre-planning phase of your policy work, you want to consider how you are going to maintain the mechanisms that you are creating beyond the current period. Naturally you will be looking to sustain the parts of your system of care work that have yielded positive results. It is thus very important to consider collecting information that justifies and supports why pieces of your emerging system of care are worth being put into policy.
Activities, Questions to Consider
Policy activities and tasks in your community might include:
- Reviewing other agencies’ policies and how they affect systems of care work, and how systems of care work will affect policies of other agencies.
- Have all relevant policies affecting the system of care been assessed?
- What are current policy barriers to building, implementing, or sustaining systems of care? How can those barriers be eliminated?
- Performing an environmental scan of system of care legislation nationally to see if there is any applicability to your State/tribe/community.
- Is there thorough understanding of the various kinds of policies that can support systems of care? If not, how will this understanding be developed?
- Have you done a web search of system of care policies?
- Identifying individuals and organizations key to identification, review, and analysis of existing policy.
- Has a stakeholder group been established to address existing policy issues? Does this group include elected officials and families involved in child welfare that have been impacted by current policies?
- Development of new or revised policies and procedures.
- Are there current policy gaps and/or barriers? What is the strategy to address them (e.g., develop new or revise existing policies)?
- Is there a mechanism within the governance structure to highlight and recommend policy issues and changes based on unresolved case plans?
- Does the system of care governance structure or another interagency committee have case plan review authority when a case plan cannot be implemented because of policy issues, service gaps, barriers, or funding problems?
The people who perform policy duties in your community might include:
- Interagency committee, including family representation
- Administrative support position
- System analyst
- Government relations staff
- Legislative staff
- Advocacy organization staff
- Legal counsel, as needed
- Evaluation staff
- As you begin implementing your system of care infrastructure, think about what policy mechanism you need to sustain the infrastructure you are building. For example, many States have codified in law State and local interagency teams, family involvement, definitions of target population within their system of care, required interagency case plans, and case management.
- Keep an eye out for those individuals who have a penchant for policy development and engage them in thinking about policy issues and development.
- Early in your system of care work, become familiar with existing system of care policies from around the country by doing a thorough web search.
Jefferson County, Colorado – House Bill 04-1451 Collaborative Management Program Legislation
These are the actual six pages of legislation that creates the statewide governance structure for Colorado’s system of care. It addresses county specific memorandum of understanding to be developed that includes an interagency oversight group, individualized care teams and plans, development of performance-based measures, performance-based incentive funds distribution, and annual reporting to county executive directors and the State.
Contra Costa County, California – Policy Council Governance Document (PDF - 87 KB)
This four-page document outlines the vision/purpose/principles/membership/committee structure of the System of Care Planning and Policy Council. Embedded within this document are clear statements of how policy issues will be addressed along with specific committees assigned to review and revise existing policies related to their system of care.
Jefferson County, Colorado – Information Sharing Policy (PDF - 2.3 MB)
This five-page policy concerning cross-agency information sharing is a supportive document for working with children and their families who are involved with multiple public agencies. This policy is intended to clarify the circumstances under which employees may disclose information regarding their customers to other employees of the Jefferson County Department of Human Services.
Alamance County, North Carolina – Release of Information Form (PDF - 122 KB)
This one-page document gives authorization to release and exchange information within the system of care. It is signed by the parent/guardian and the service provider. All participating agencies are listed on the form and can be checked off as appropriate to the child and family concerned.