Resilience, or bouncing back to positive development, is essentially about improvements to a person’s quality of life conditions and experiences, and it is thus about outcomes. This presentation argues that accountability should focus on outcomes information. Child Welfare in North America is now mired in a system of standardized service and documentation processes, and compliance monitoring regimes to ensure accountability. Such a program of service is unlikely to produce good outcomes. This presentation will propose a critique of standardized and manualised practice and the compliance monitoring they require. Among others, such an approach is very expensive and focuses on the wrong factor of the service equation; one cannot infer outcomes from measures of professional staff activity or other program processes.
The presentation will illustrate an alternative accountability approach that starts and ends with the ongoing monitoring of short and long term outcomes. Our child welfare organization has been piloting two outcomes monitoring tools: Looking After Children (LAC) for children placed in out of home care, and a brief quality of life conditions and experiences (QLCE) assessment tool. Both instruments provide individual case feedback that is of clinical relevance to front line staff and generate aggregate reports that are of great use to service managers and useful for accountability purposes. Data from one year of pilots using the QLCE and 6 years of data using the LAC assessment and action record will be presented.