How can CITA help?

Targeted Training and Implementation Assistance

CITA can assist in identifying issues in your jurisdiction where you can undertake measurable change efforts through the development of targeted training and implementation efforts.  We encourage an approach to such issues that is data informed, sensitive to local culture and needs, and mindful of the complex and interlinked nature of the work we do.  Examples of such efforts include our work as partners in a state-wide effort to improve compliance with the Adoption and Safe Families Act (a requirement of Washington State’s Federal Program Improvement Plan), our work with jurisdictions to reduce continuances and spend less time in court, as well as efforts to improve a number of other process and outcome based measures.  We are currently working to engage jurisdictions on reducing the amount of time it takes a case to proceed from termination of parental rights to adoption, and to increase the percentage of permanent plans achieved within 15 months of placement.

Traditional Continuing Legal Education / Continuing Judicial Education

CITA provides traditional CLE / CJE learning opportunities.  Our focus is on creating interactive, timely, and relevant workshops that not only provide information, but also engage practitioners in conversations about how knowledge can be applied in their work.  Sessions can range from a half hour, to multiple day engagements.  As with our other efforts, we encourage a localized, interactive, data informed approach to our training.  We strive to help participants understand why the issue is being discussed, what they can do about it in their own practice, and how we might know that such efforts were successful.  A sample of CITA offerings include a two day training focused on the fundamentals of dependency work for judicial officers, a half day session addressing the ethical roles and responsibilities of those in the dependency legal system, and lunch time trainings for judges and lawyers related to solution based casework.

Keynote / Conference Sessions

CITA can provide process facilitation and breakout session workshops for large format conferences.  We have facilitated groups as large as 300 and provided specialized breakout sessions for group as small as 10.  We use a fast paced, highly interactive format that helps participants connect their work to the larger group and develop a plan of action that is meaningful and specific to the conference goals.  Using tools such as Liberating Structures we fully engage the entire group and blend “evidence based practice” expertise with the “practice based evidence” experience of the group at large to co-create a significant experience that resonates with attendees and moves them to action.  Examples of our work include sessions we have produced for the Washington State Children’s Justice Conference and the New Mexico Children’s Law Institute, and our facilitation of the 2014 federal Court Improvement Program Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Tables of Ten

Tables of Ten begin with the gathering of 10 or so individuals in your child welfare legal community who want things to be better.  We work from the premise that the real question in court improvement is not what is broken and how to fix it, but what is possible and who cares.  Tables of Ten typically begin with a two-day work session to review local data, map local work process, and begin the task of strategically intervening where the greatest impact can be had.  Each Table of Ten is specifically designed by the local court community with the assistance of CITA, from the content of the first two day meeting, to the degree and level of follow through to be expected afterward, we want to meet you where you are in your court improvement efforts and help you move from there.  A Table of Ten is a focused effort to review your dependency system as a whole, and an opportunity for those involved to make meaning of what they see and intentionally design a process to change it for the better.  It is an effort at continuous quality improvement on a local level.  CITA has established 11 Tables of Ten across Washington State.  Some of the issues they have worked to improve are: timeliness to permanence; reducing time social workers spend in court; reducing continuances; increasing focus on the special needs of infants and young children in foster care; and improved interdisciplinary communication and collaboration.  Many Tables of Ten that have operated for more than a year, undertake a process of ReVision to re-examine their systems once initial goals have been achieved, a process which CITA co-designs and facilitates.  CITA uses a “storyboard approach” to planning events.  Much like an agenda, it lists time allocations and topics for the time we will spend together.  Unlike a typical agenda, a storyboard also insists that we examine what we intend to accomplish each minute we are together and provides a specific tool to accomplish each intention.  For an example of what the first day of a Table of Ten might look like, click here to see a storyboard a Table of Ten we recently started in King County.

Community of Practice Formation and Management

CITA works to improve the practice of child welfare law through the creation of communities of practice.  Most commonly, a community of practice is a group of individuals (sometime multi-disciplinary) interested in a particular issue or tool to improve their work.  CITA provides technical support and assistance in forming and managing these communities to maximize their potential.   Examples of such communities are the Liberating Structures in Child Welfare Users Group which explores ways to integrate Liberating Structures into child welfare work, and the Quality Improvement Center for Youth Representation “Learning Pods” which are part of a national study to improve youth representation in child welfare cases across the country.  These groups provide the advantage of being somewhat flexible and informal, allowing them to readily adapt to new issues as they emerge.  They are typically not associated with an organized effort to improve specific measurable outcomes, though they may be used as a component part of such efforts to enhance awareness and provide a forum for implementation issues for those doing the work.

Publications / Materials Creation

CITA has co-developed and maintained a wide variety of practice aids to assist practitioners in improving their work.  We maintain the Washington State Juvenile Non-Offender Bench Book  and the Washington State Best Practices in Dependency Court Guide.  We have provided guidance and consultation on a variety of “benchcards” including a series specific to Washington State Courts for general dependency practice (link) and specialized benchcards and checklists for issues such as the use of psychotropic medications.  Our focus is on developing practitioner friendly tools that provide the necessary knowledge in a timely, context specific, and accurate format. Rather than take a “one size fits all” approach to training materials CITA works with local practitioners to create localized versions of materials that meet the needs of those doing the work on a daily basis.

Process Improvement / Needs Assessment

Not sure what you need?  CITA can help.  We have helped jurisdictions across Washington State pull together their data, make meaning of it, and develop a course of action to get timely, measurable improvement.  We can help you develop a process that engages local practitioners in a meaningful review of data that invites them to be co-creators of improvement plans.  When those who need to “buy-in” are part of creating the plan, no “selling of the plan” is necessary.  We can help with that process so that meaningful change can occur.  There are many examples of our work on the website, but the best example is yours.  Give us a call at 206-543-3450 and we can explore what we could accomplish together.