The Department of Families and Children in District 3 has implemented a number of reform initiatives and innovative practices in response to legislative mandates. The mandates arose from State administrative and legislative offices’ interest in the privatization of DCF operations and increased accountability within the DCF system. These program features include the separation of investigative and protective services functions, the development of a computerized case record system, the development of an online training system for caseworkers, ongoing consultation with a community advisory board, and strong collaborative partnerships with a variety of community-based agencies and private service providers.
Privatization remains the greatest unknown in the future of DCF operations. Most of the stakeholders believe that it is inevitable and discussions were focused on how the transition could be implemented to ensure that children and families continue to receive quality care. Flexible funding, with sufficient mechanisms for inflationary increases, is critical to the success of any privatization effort.