How a change in climate raised awareness in equity
The regulatory climate is in constant flux and, as finance professionals worldwide navigate the latest standards, regulations and guidance, the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 (February 2018), which must be implemented by October 2021, provided for significant changes to the United States federal child welfare financing system. Translated into layman’s terms, the focus is on keeping children at home or in a more home-like environment by providing necessary funding to enable such success.
Lucas County Children Services (LCCS), located in Lucas County, OH, is the focus of this case study on financial transformation in a new regulatory climate. The successful influence and impact of the certified professional finance leader is demonstrated through budgeting and realignment of finances, strategies, validation of mission and values and strategies, engagement of all stakeholders and effective communication. This resulted in the development of the LCCS core strategic priorities:
- Safely reduce children in foster care by 75%.
- Develop competencies to reduce disproportionality and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities.
- Develop a parent and kin training institute.
- Leverage strategic collaboration to advance a system of prevention.
- Implement best practice improvements
Beginning with the ultimate priority to safely reduce the number of children in foster care in 2023 by a cumulative 75% as compared to the baseline of 2019, the target was immediately identified. To reach this goal the agency would have to make substantial progress on achieving their other strategic priorities.