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Strengthen continuous quality improvement.
Welcome to STEP—Striving Toward Excellent Practice. STEP is a Data Leaders program building the capacity of managers and data specialists to use continuous quality improvement (CQI), collaborate and improve outcomes for children and families.
Tackle the tough issues.
We strengthen agencies that face the challenge of addressing child safety. In the US, 1 in 8 children, between birth and their 18th birthday, will experience maltreatment.1 Our course is a forum for asking and answering key questions such as how do we:
  • decrease repeat maltreatment
  • strengthen the permanency process
  • recruit and retain foster parents
  • increase staff retention
  • reunify families in a timely manner
  • use data to inform actions
  • strengthen community resources
  • use technology to improve efficiency
  • achieve outcomes for children
Work toward meaningful outcomes.
Our blended learning process is an investment in continuous quality improvement that delivers results.

CLASSROOM

EXPLORE NEW APPROACHES Multimedia presentations plus large and small group discussions to provide opportunities to learn, share, debate, role play and dialogue. The activities promote empowerment, nurture creativity and strengthen critical thinking.

COACHING

GET SPECIALIZED SUPPORT Participants receive coaching focused on identifying problems and building skills needed to initiate and strengthen CQI. Coaching provides technical assistance in data analysis, research, software, technology, and capacity-building.

ONLINE

Link to Key Resources The STEP website provides participants with lessons, links to data, access to research and all the tools and virtual training needed to support a data-driven, results-oriented process.

DATA LEADERSHIP Get to results.

NYC

New York City Data Leaders

Mapping and setting priorities
The Data Leaders program in New York City’s child welfare system is training managers in investigations, foster care and prevention, taking on challenges in city borough divisions larger than many states. Data specialists and experts from the field, guided by agency leadership’s priorities, focus on collaboration to assess and meet the needs of some of the nation’s most diverse communities
Explore NYC
CT

Connecticut Data Leaders

Making strong commitments
The Data Leaders program in Connecticut, with strong support from agency leadership, infuses their course with hands on experiences focused on implementation science, data analytics and strategies shown to promote racial justice.
Explore CT
NM

New Mexico Data Leaders

Achieving meaningful progress
The pilot Data Leaders program in New Mexico, funded by Casey Family Programs, was evaluated by the Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver. Three cohorts of managers from across the state designed innovations to meet the needs of families facing some of the nation’s highest rates of substance misuse, domestic violence, untreated mental health challenges and poverty.
Explore NM

Contact Us.

We look forward to sharing our resources and successes. Contact us today.LET'S CONNECT

COURSE Invest in a blended learning process.

Session
Begin Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)
We introduce the goals, objectives and components of STEP and CQI.
Session
Assess Work Flow Strengthens and Challenges
We focus on using data to identify child welfare workflow challenges and strengths.
Session
Explore Research and Data Sources
We explore the role of science in child welfare and root cause analysis.
Session
Plan with Logic + Research
We use logic models, supported by data and research, to plan local innovations.
Session
Test a Hypothesis + Collect Evidence
We demonstrate how to use data and technology in creating and monitoring innovations.
Session
Use Data to Inform Action
We examine the use of data to diagnose problems and test assumptions.
Session
Evaluate Results with Data
We provide the skills to measure meaningful progress.
Session
Communicate About Change
We design and practice communication strategies to facilitate change.
Session
Get to Results
We brainstorm strategies for strengthening agency-wide CQI.
Educate and inspire.

TRAINERS + COACHES Engage with a team approach.

Dominic Cappello – Strategist, Trainer + Project Developer Dominic focuses on systems, continuous quality improvement and data-driven decision making. He led the implementation of Data Leaders in New York City, Connecticut and New Mexico.
Katherine Ortega-Courtney, PhD – Strategic Planner + Coach Katherine’s strategic planning is informed by her work as an epidemiologist and as Bureau Chief for New Mexico Protective Services Research, Assessment and Data Bureau.
Gregory Sherrow — Technical Architect + Strategist Gregory's expertise in technological solutions comes from a background in web technology leadership in both educational and commercial enterprises.
Heather Labansat, PhD — Researcher + Coach Heather specializes in applied research and using scientific methodology to develop evidence-based practices to solve workplace and community problems.
Susan Burgess — Organizational Development Specialist Susan specializes in developing and delivering leadership development, management skills and communication. She works to build effective organizational structures.
Richard Dunks — Data Specialist, Strategist, Trainer + Coach Richard works on applying new and innovative techniques to the processing, analysis, and visualization of public data to make meaningful and positive actions with measurable impact.
Arianna Trott — Researcher + Evaluation Specialist Arianna provides research, evaluation and behavioral health expertise. She focuses on promoting social justice by addressing behavioral health disparities.
Bram Meehan — Design Consultant, Writer + Coach Bram specializes in creative direction, graphic design and the development of tools that help tell a story about challenges and solutions using data.

ACHIEVE RESULTS Aim for Excellence.

ACCOMPLISH GOALS

Set and achieve priorities.
Our STEP Program is hands on, where participants create innovations and change initiatives with buy-in from agency leadership. The program promotes a data-driven, tech-empowered and result-focused process. For new localities starting STEP, we support every aspect of customization.
EXPLORE THE CUSTOMIZATION PROCESS HERE

EXPLORE SOLUTIONS

Start with cost-free resources.
The STEP program was developed with the support of Casey Family Programs. The training curriculum, tutorials and activities are openly available resources, cost-free to all child welfare agencies.
EXPLORE RESOURCES HERE

EMPOWER STAFF

Innovate with technology.
The STEP program introduces participants to advances in technology as they develop innovations and change initiatives during the course. Course participants explore how technology, from apps to artificial intelligence, is transforming hotlines, investigations, case management, reporting and analytics.
EXPLORE TECH + FOSTER PARENT EDUCATION