• October 2009
  • Vol. 10, No. 8

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Making the Connection: Linking Discretionary Grant Work With State Planning and Program and Improvement Activities

Recognizing the importance of collaboration between its funded discretionary grant projects and the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs), the Children's Bureau (CB) implemented a new process to improve this linkage, beginning with the CFSRs scheduled for FY 2009. The CFSRs and Program Improvement Plans (PIPs) present opportunities for States and discretionary grant programs to work together as partners in systems change initiatives.
Collaboration promises to benefit both States and discretionary grantees. States are finding that discretionary grantees can be a valuable resource during Statewide Assessments, CFSR planning, Onsite Reviews, and PIP planning and implementation. Through their work with a broad spectrum of populations within the child welfare arena, these grantees are engaged within their communities and develop a wealth of knowledge. Grantees are key stakeholders, frequently doing work that may impact the State's Statewide Assessment and improve CFSR outcomes. Participation in State planning and program improvement processes benefits discretionary grantees by helping them disseminate findings to a wider audience, sustain their programs, and improve outcomes for their target populations.

This process features a top-down approach, as well as a bottom-up approach. From the top down, CB provides information to the Regional Office and the State under review about the discretionary grant programs operating within the State, including the purpose of the grant, the funding period, grantee contact information, and Federal Project Officer contact information. From the bottom up, grantees are informed of upcoming CFSRs in their States and encouraged to participate.

Additionally, presentations have been made at the 2009 Grantees Meeting and the Agencies and Courts Meeting. These presentations emphasized the benefits of collaboration for all parties.

We have already seen successful CFSR/PIP/CFSP (Child and Family Services Plan) collaborations between State agencies and discretionary grantees. One example is a grantee from CB's Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care Initiative that was successful in infusing the systems of care principles into the State's policies and procedures, as well as its PIP activities. This cross-pollination of grant activities into State agency practice benefited the grantee by sustaining the work beyond the life of the grant and assisted the State in creating a consistent and clear PIP that is supported by systems of care and CFSR principles.

For more information about CB discretionary grants, please visit the following websites:

For more information about the CFSRs, please visit www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/cwmonitoring/index.htm#cfsr

Contributed by Bethany Miller, Research and Innovation Division, the Children's Bureau




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