The services provided by WRMA encompassed research; qualitative and quantitative data analysis of case files, comparison against national metrics and statistical analysis of administrative data; conducting individual and group interviews, focus groups and public community forums; evaluation; policy analysis; comparative case record review of policies and practices; use of web-based technologies to create and maintain the COB public web page and secure web portal, and regular reporting, including annual reports for external funding sources and the annual Protecting Philadelphia’s Children: Call to Action report submitted to the mayor.
WRMA provided technical support to create a new mission statement and set core values, develop internal contract management and evaluation capacity, and streamline DHS requirements to eliminate redundancy and reduce administrative burdens on DHS social workers. Additionally, WRMA supported the COB to monitor DHS implementation of evidence-based best practices, conducted research to evaluate key DHS reforms, advised COB subcommittees such as the Older Youth Work group, and reviewed child fatality protocols. WRMA also undertook special projects to improve monitoring efforts and evaluated programs including: Hotline Guided Decision Making; Family Group Decision Making; Expedited Response and ongoing assessments of DHS’ child visitation; safety assessment practices; and child fatality and near-fatality reviews. WRMA also analyzed DHS data, practices, and policies on older youth in foster care, to identify issues and how best to address the needs of this population through cross-system collaboration.
Key accomplishments from this project include:
- Analysis and assessments key to identifying 37 recommended reforms undertaken by DHS
- Paperwork reduction and streamlining of redundancies, allowing social workers to spend more time directly caring for children
- Improvements in reporting fatalities and implementation of recommendations from the child welfare review panel to enhance child safety
- Quality reporting crucial to communicating DHS reforms to the public and improving community relationships.