Benchmarks is very grateful for the opportunity to host child welfare stakeholder focus groups as part of a new project with Vaya Health. Vaya is committed to providing quality services to our most vulnerable population- children that have experienced trauma, child abuse and neglect. As a part of the child welfare project, the data collection process will include the typical number crunching, quantitative data analysis, but we know that does not always capture the entire story. In order to hear from the “boots on the ground” experts, Benchmarks has hosted multiple focus groups to capture the bigger picture which can often be overlooked from just looking at numbers.
Our participants have included local child welfare system leaders, behavioral health providers, foster and residential providers as well as the Local Management Entity-Managed Care Organization’s (LME-MCO) staff. For ninety minutes during each session, participants shared successes and struggles youth and families’ experiences as a result of their involvement with child welfare. The years of experience captured in the focus groups is so helpful to this project as it allows us to capture a deeper understanding of the issues, something that surveys, and data do not always provide.
There are two main takeaways that we would like to share. First, we have amazing people in the child welfare serving system that love and care for our most vulnerable children. Although each focus group was different and held different opinions, the bottom line is that each participant truly cares about the well-being of children. Secondly, we believe what you see depends on where you sit.
Depending on where we sit, whether that be at the local child welfare office, in a foster home or in an outpatient therapy appointment, it influences what we each see. Are any of the perspectives wrong? No! Are they very different? Yes! Are they all valuable? Absolutely because what you see depends on where you sit!
At Benchmarks, our staff is listening to each voice to bring forward possible solutions to our stakeholders so that every youth in child welfare will have the best opportunity for success.