We're unique (in a results-focused way).
We're not your usual organization. And we are not simply offering training. Far from it. Please review our FAQ to get a better understanding of the programs and services we offer and how we can support your agency and the communities you serve. If you do not see the answers you're looking for, we are happy to answer in-depth questions about our Data Leaders for Child Welfare, Resilience Leaders and Longevity Leaders programs. The following questions are most commonly asked by clients.
How do we begin to assess challenges and the support our communities need?
As you will see from our FAQ and website, our approach to health and safety is comprehensive. We've learned that families and communities are struggling with a wide variety of challenges and solutions don't fit easily into one category. We focus our efforts on strengthening the resilience factors in ten key sectors in order to create family-friendly and trauma-free communities. Our Community Resilience Experience Survey can help you assess the communities you serve to better understand their needs and access to support.
Are your programs focused on strengthening the quality improvement process of an organization, training agency staff or both?
Both. All our programs are first and foremost an investment in an agency's commitment to data-driven, cross-sector and systemic work. For some agencies this has been their focus all along, for others it might be a new approach. We can strengthen or introduce agencies to a process called continuous quality improvement (CQI) which is the four-step process of assessment, planning, action and evaluation. All our training programs are hands-on and project focused which means participants commit to developing an innovation focused on agency leadership priorities.
What do you mean by leadership priorities?
For example, in New Mexico's child welfare system a priority for leadership was increasing foster parent recruitment. Participants in the Data Leaders program developed a wide variety of strategies to recruit residents into the foster parent training programs and certification process. In Washington State, if a non-profit's priority is to see a decrease in adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), program participants might wish to focus on increasing access to behavioral health care in their local schools. The agency's priorities would lead program participants to research how other schools have developed school-based mental health care. We focus on strengthening the capacity of an organization to develop local innovations that align with their strategic plans, goals and mission.
What do you mean by the term data-driven?
Instead of what may be used in some government or non-profit work—decisions based on hunches, what's been done before or a director's opinion—we base all our work on data. We don't lack for it. We're swimming in excellent data and research that provides all the information we need to start solving challenges today. And data are not limited to quantitative—intimidating numbers. Data are also qualitative and come from the stories of local residents and inspiring life experiences. Data-driven decision-making must guide the work.
What do you mean by the term cross-sector and why is it important?
Instead of doing our work in isolation or a silo, we reach across the key sectors of the multi-disciplinary public sector to coordinate work. We've identified ten vital services in ten distinct social sectors that make up a resilient, family-friendly community. This means child welfare prevention efforts coordinate with similar efforts sponsored by public health. Non-profits focused on youth development work in sync with education, behavioral health care and job training. We communicate across our agencies and sectors to assess challenges, plan with research, implement action and measure progress.
What do you mean by the term systemic?
Instead of looking at only one particular part of the challenges facing families, we approach our work by looking at the health of an entire community system. The magnitude of the challenges we face require that we take into thoughtful consideration all the interrelationships and interdependencies among the parts of the whole. This includes the impacts and interfacing of our own organization, as well as the many faceted parts within the community we focus on. Technology makes systemic work, internally and externally, transparent. For meaningful change, systemic thinking is required.
What are Data Leaders programs?
These are programs housed within government and non-governmental agencies to train the workforce in using data to solve problems. These programs build collaboration between data specialists, upper management, training staff and the field-at-large in order to improve outcomes for the populations their agencies serve. We started our work with designing a Data Leaders program in 2014 that focused on child welfare following the continuous quality improvement process of assess, plan, act and evaluate. You can learn more here: www.childwelfareleaders.org.
What does the term trauma-informed care mean?
This is a strength-based framework in the social sectors and behavioral health care that is responsive to the impact of emotional trauma in children and adults. This approach emphasizes physical and emotional safety for both service providers and survivors; and creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control over their lives and a feeling of empowerment. Because our work focuses on the health and safety of families we are often focused on working with populations that have experienced emotional trauma. You can learn more about that by visiting www.resilienceleaders.org or by reading the book Anna, Age Eight – The Data Driven Prevention of Childhood Trauma and Maltreatment.
How do we know if our agency has the capacity to sponsor a Data Leaders training and support ongoing innovations developed as part of the training?
Discuss with your agency's leadership how projects guided by the continuous quality improvement (CQI) framework and training can be housed within your agency. To take on one of our Data Leaders programs would require a leader with system responsibility, who can sponsor the program both internally and externally. This person clears the path for success. An agency will also need at least one staff person to serve as a project coordinator not only the training, but for the short-term, intermediate and long-term work of local innovations. We can offer technical assistance here. The most important questions are: Who will be the agency leader that ensures the success of the program and who will be the in-house Data Leaders project coordinator?
What type of data expertise do we need to sponsor a Data Leaders program?
You will want a staff person who has the capacity to gather data from public sources like public health, child welfare and census. Discuss with agency leadership how data-driven they wish to be. Identify which staff are responsible for the assessment of challenges you currently work on, gathering data and research to support your programming, and the evaluation of programs. We can provide support here. The most important question is: Who will be your in-house data “expert” or point-person during the training and implementation of local innovations?
What training capacity do we need to sponsor a Data Leaders program?
Discuss with your agency's leadership your capacity to offer training and your local facilitators with expertise in data, research and CQI. You will need instructors and coaches with expertise in a blended learning format which includes face-to-face classroom and web-based instruction as well as coaching. We can offer support here. Our question will be: Who will be your trainer/facilitator?
How do we recruit for our Data Leaders programs?
In child welfare, our best results come when we have buy-in from the very top leadership. For community agencies, our programs can focus on building projects in one area, like increasing access to behavioral health care. If you are a behavioral health care agency then the focus would be on recruiting participants from your community of mental health care professionals interested in socially engaged projects. Or your agency may be comprehensive in its work and recruitment can include a focus on reaching out to the professionals in the nine other vital sectors that families require: medical/dental care, housing, food, transport, family-centered schools, early childhood programs, parent supports, youth mentors and job training. Discuss with agency leadership which sectors you are comfortable working with and who has the best relationship to the sectors you wish to work in. Our question will be: Who is best suited within your agency to recruit for your trainings?
What do you mean by leaders?
Our programs are designed for those in leadership positions who have the capacity to take on local projects. We focus our training on agency leadership which means active board members, executive team members, managers and supervisors. Our participants attend Data Leaders because they are interested in learning and are result-focused—not because they've been told to attend. Our question will be: Who within your staff or partnering agencies have the capacity to participate in the training? Our programs are designed for those in leadership positions who have the capacity to take on local projects. We focus our programs and training on agency leadership which means active board members, executive team members, managers and supervisors. We also know that there are emerging leaders in any organization who may not yet have the official "title" but are excellent additions to a training. Our most successful participants attend Data Leaders because they are interested in learning and are result-focused—not because they've been told to attend. Our question will be: Who within your staff or partnering agencies will be interested in strengthening an agency's quality improvement process and solving challenges?
How do we evaluate success?
We set up an evaluation process with you to achieve measurable and meaningful results with the workforce and the community members you serve. First, we want training participants to feel empowered and educated by our Data Leaders programs. Please contact us to review the evaluation of NM Data Leaders by the Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver.
How will your programs improve communities?
We envision ten sectors funded to provide key services so that every family is trauma-free. We have the know-how, now we just need to move steadily toward meaningful results. We may sound optimistic but we believe that it's not "if", it's "when". We are working toward a future where every community in every 3000+ counties in the nation has a robust, well-resourced and data-driven child welfare and public health presence.
Do you offer services other than Data Leaders programs?
Yes. We can help you with all aspects of assessment, planning, action, evaluation and the design of learning management systems to house training for staff, university students or community members. You can learn more about our instructional design work by visiting Data Leader for Child Welfare/Innovations.
What are the next steps if we are interested in a Data Leaders program?
After reviewing our questions and answers with your agency leadership, we are ready to begin exploring the best way to set up a local Data Leaders program for you. We have years of experience with this and know what works and what can be challenging. Our goal is to set your agency and your community up for success. Please fill out the contact form and we will respond in a timely manner to discuss more details around training schedules, costs, scheduling and evaluation. We look forward to supporting you.
For more information about getting the data, getting to results and supporting you step-by-step through the development, implementation and evaluation of innovations and change initiatives to enrich lives—please contact us.