InDHSS: Employee Newsletter

 

August 2010

 
   


Statewide Leadership Team

   
 

OCS Management Team Meets in Anchorage

OCS managers from across Alaska recently gathered in Anchorage to kick off development of the 5-Year Child and Family Services Plan (CFSP). The CFSP is a federally required state plan intended to serve as a roadmap for organizational development leading toward improved child safety, permanency and well-being outcomes.
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OCS Performance Measures as a part of the DHSS Results Based Accountability and Budget plans

For the past two years, the Department of Health and Social Services has been moving in the direction of a Results-Based Accountability and Budgeting for purposes of the departmental legislative presentations that are held in February each year. As a part of this effort, each division of the DHSS has been required to align specific performance measures to the broad DHSS performance outcomes. Each division has further refined its respective performance measures as a part of the department’s outcomes. 
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Alaska and Tanana Chiefs Conference sign historic tribal agreement

For the first time in Alaska’s child welfare history, the state is entering into an agreement with a Tribal organization that supports and recognizes the ability of a Tribe to provide services to its own citizens, increasing the likelihood for Tribal foster children to stay in their communities with relatives, culture, and traditions.  
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Foster Homes, what we need, how you can help

On Oct. 1, 2013, there were 2,010 children in out-of-home care with OCS. Of these children and youth, 669 were placed with relative foster families and 62 percent of the children were Alaska Native. For the month of October 2013, there were 1,335 licensed foster homes / licensed foster group homes, and approximately 120 unlicensed relative caregivers. (For more statistics, please see the OCS website). 
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What Is Tribal-State?

Historically, the collaboration between OCS and Alaska Native Tribes was more complicated than what we enjoy today. In 1990/91, the state of Alaska and tribes executed an agreement pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) which established written procedures in the implementation of ICWA. Additionally, Congress passed legislation in 1993 that provided funding to states and tribes and emphasized tribal-state collaborative efforts in service delivery to support children and families.
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This is the season of giving

During this time of year, as the holidays quickly approach, we are often drawn to fond memories of family traditions such as baking delicious foods; decorating our homes; gift giving; and celebrating with those who are dear to us. Many of us also take this time of year to give back to our community and reach out to those who are in need of extra support by volunteering our time, donating needed gifts and providing holiday treats.
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Ready, Set, Implement!

After many months, and for some folks, years, we are finally implementing our new Family Services Assessment (FSA) model statewide. We have spent many of the past months training OCS staff on the new framework for case planning and evaluation of behavioral change. We are hopeful this new framework, and the addition of Motivational Interviewing skills, will bring positive outcomes for the families we work with.
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Addressing Disproportionality

Over the past five years, the Office of Children’s Services has worked with tribal partners to address the concerning issue of disproportionality in Alaska’s child welfare system. Alaskan Native children are significantly over-presented in the child welfare system. According to Department 2012 data, 22 percent of the state’s children are Alaska Native, yet they make up 64 percent of all children in out of home foster care.
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The OCS Interview: Meet Iliya Stepanov!

New Data Processing Manager / ORCA Project Manager for OCS.
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The tipping point in Alaska came this past winter following a number of perilous situations that presented serious danger to our workers. This particularly striking string of events was part of a larger accumulation — occurring with ever-increasing frequency — of similar unsafe events statewide. We were lucky; none ended in tragedy this time. However, reliance on luck is not the way we wish to operate. 
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The number of children in protective custody has been on the rise for the past year and a half in Alaska. This may be an indicator of increased maltreatment rates, but may also be the result of other factors such as the severity of reported maltreatment, organizational practice changes, and duration of time spent in custody. Deeper analysis is currently being conducted to determine what factors may be contributing to this trend. 
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