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Spotlight: Surry County SAP Taking Its First Solo Flight

 

Today, Benchmarks is spotlighting our first Standardized Assessment Project participants, Surry County Department of Social Services (DSS) and Partners Health Management (Partners). In January 2022, Surry County DSS and Partners will embark on sustaining the Standardized Assessment Protocol (SAP) process on their own. Benchmarks implementation staff will step out of the picture and the partnership will take over local management of all project aspects. For the first 18 months of the project, the Leadership and Partners Teams worked diligently to implement trauma-informed training and work among their agencies and onboarded mental health providers especially trained to complete Trauma-intensive Comprehensive Clinical Assessments (TiCCAs), provided in a timely manner to Surry foster children who screen positive for trauma. Thus far, Surry DSS leadership is pleased with the movement of foster children through the SAP pathway and the process’ success in producing the best holistic (mental health, educational, social and environmental) recommendations for the child and family at the right time. Implementing new processes that involve multiple child and family-serving systems are always a challenge, but this Team continually rose to meet this challenge not only while managing their normal day-to-day workloads, staff turnover, state, and federal mandates (including Medicaid Transformation and FFSPSA), but with a pandemic thrown in for good measure! It was difficult, but the Team continued to move forward with making this project a normal part of their local DSS processes.

As many know, implementing a new methodology that helps our families is a wonderful thing, but is to no avail if a solid long-term plan for sustainability is not set in place. Six months ago, the Leadership and Partners Teams started the sustainability process, leaning into the work of learning how to maintain project tenets on their own. They have met this challenge with the same determination that they exhibit when helping children and families in their communities. The Team has been very flexible and worked together cohesively to ensure that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities going forward. The Team has developed a sustainability process which includes ensuring that the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s Trauma Training for the Child Welfare Professional trainings are offered regularly to DSS staff, that fidelity monitoring processes for the TiCCA providers are in place, and that their local data collection processes are in place and effective. Local monthly Partners meetings will continue post-Benchmarks, with Team members discussing their local data trends and troubleshooting any issues that arise. We look forward to hearing from the Team later next year regarding their lessons learned and successes as they continue the SAP journey on their own!

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