Family and Children’s Services Case Study

Background – A state office for adoption services was facing penalties by the federal government because too few children were being adopted in a timely fashion.

Challenges/Objectives – The stakes were high with the possibility of losing millions of dollars worth of funding because the adoption process was falling short of a federally mandated timeline. The state had no idea what was causing the bottleneck in the process.

Strategy/Plan – We convened a meeting of stakeholders Using a flowchart. we facilitated a process to identify the events that had to occur before the courts can award permanent custody. All of the stakeholders provided input regarding the sequential events that were necessary for a successful outcome. A review of the flowchart make it clear that the courts were granting delays, sometimes several in a row.  This was where the process repeatedly slowed.

Outcomes – We presented our findings to a state-wide meeting of judges. They had no idea that just granting continuances non-stop was threatening the program’s funding.  It was a matter of educating these significant stakeholders and getting them on board with the role the courts played in the timeline.