Starting in March, The Alliance met with staff from the Office of Tribal Relations weekly to design a structure where the policy revisions could be received by learners without overwhelm. These meetings expanded to include policy staff, field ops, and IT to support the development, messaging, and delivery of the training. Priorities for revisions of Alliance courses also were established.
In FY23, we worked closely with DCYF anticipating the legislative mandate going into effect on July 1, 2023. This last fiscal year, we spent most of our collaboration creating a testimony video, “Example of Direct Testimony,” that would support DCYF in their Foundations of Practice training and the field with understanding the learning around court expectations. Along with the video, a Shelter Care simulation has been built and is being offered to the field starting July 31. Workers will have an opportunity to practice testifying at a shelter care hearing and then receive feedback on their testimony by the Judge or Court Commissioner.
In addition, The Alliance revised legal day in RCT to cover the standards for removal.
The Alliance created nine coaching positions to support the implementation of FFPSA, which shifted to include Motivational Interviewing training and coaching.
DCYF originally identified nine early implementer offices across the state to receive initial training and Motivational Interviewing Competency Assessment (MICA) coaching. While the launch of FFPSA to collect federal funding has pivoted, the program now primarily focuses on the delivery of MI training and MICA coaching to the field.
Coaching deliverables approved for this fiscal year included direct service hours to DCYF by providing the MICA coaching. This includes direct field observation, coding (using approved scoring), and coaching in support of skill acquisition as new skills are learned and applied with families.
The Alliance has prioritized movement in the areas of anti-racism, inclusion and equity in the way it delivers training and the team that delivers it. This has been evidenced by the creation of two separate initiatives this year.
Starting in Q2, the Director of Equity & Belonging began developing an internal Culture Survey. The goal of the survey is to get a sense of staff morale, determine areas that may affect retention and see where leaders may have opportunities to impact. Responses will be gathered anonymously to encourage safety and honesty.
Questions were developed with an eye toward both the strategic plan and the The Alliance’s values, which will make it easy to see how the organization is faring in execution and adoption, respectively.
The survey’s content has gone through multiple reviews, both in small workgroups and at the Leadership Team. The survey will launch to staff in Q1 FY2024, with data shared internally in Fall 2024.
LUNCH AND LEARNS
In Q3, the Inclusive Practice team launched a new series of Lunch and Learns. These bimonthly gatherings are open invitations to all Alliance staff.
Lunch-and-Learns are informal learning opportunities that focus on growing skills in support of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, while also creating space that fosters community building at the Alliance.
The meetings covered these topics in FY23:
- February: Deconstructing what it means to decenter whiteness and discussing integrating strategies with day-to-day tasks. Included links to recommended readings and podcasts.
- April: Creating a learning environment that encouraged brave conversations. Expectations set using racial equity principles to make time together meaningful for the work we set out to do.
- June: Pride Month-focused discussion around identity and education around the LGBTQIA+ experience/community.
This year, The Alliance moved fully into the execution phase of its FY23-25 Strategic Plan. Efforts in FY23 put the decisions made by internal workgroups into action.
Goal 1: Build a diverse, anti-racist, trusting organizational culture that fosters belonging and growth.
- Representatives from HR and Inclusive Practice came together to examine hiring process and formalize elements to ensure inclusion. This includes interview questions, required reading/training for hiring managers and looking at how lived experience should be weighted.
- Space was created in All Staff Meetings and Lunch-and-Learns for discussion of inclusion-related topics.
Goal 2: Develop and deliver effective, accessible and innovative learning and skill-building opportunities.
- Excellence in Facilitation and Excellence in Curriculum lead positions were created to invest in the strategy around how The Alliance is developing and presenting its core product.
- An Accessibility Workgroup was formed to discuss elements that need attention. From this, the main presentation template for the organization was updated and now includes guidance around universal design principles and alt text.
Goal 3: Define and operationalize the Mission, Vision and Values for the Alliance for Professional Development, Training and Caregiver Excellence.
- A Values Committee was created to drive internal adoption of the new values.
Goal 4: Commit to the design and implementation of quality assurance practices and systems.
- Review and updating of eLearnings for 508 compliance is ongoing.
- Work is underway toward development of an eLearning template.
- Curriculum guidelines have launched.
As part of The Alliance’s ongoing efforts to incorporate a wide variety of voices, the organization launched the new Innovation Proposal in Quarter 4 of this year.
This initiative positions all Alliance staff as leaders by opening up an opportunity for everyone to share thoughts and ideas and move them toward decision and implementation.
The Innovation Proposal is a document staff fill out that gives an overview of the idea, its objective/goals, and desired outcomes. Information is gathered about how the idea support the strategic priorities, who would be involved and what resources it may require.
The proposal is then reviewed by the Leadership Team, which uses this rubric to guide decisions:
- Alignment with strategic priorities, weighted x2
- Also consider cost of not implementing, or potential to diversify revenue
- Staff resources needed
- Impact on product
- Direct or indirect, such as improving communication between stakeholders
- Impact on organizational health
- For example, staff morale, revenue opportunity, fixing a known issue
The proposal has already been used by members of multiple teams, and shows strong promise for building trust alongside innovative practices.
The Alliance continued to advance the redesign of its Core training.
Milestones this year centered on work around the Knowledge, Skills and Values and learning objectives associated with the foundational training elements. These were developed and approved. Additionally, the curriculum outlines were completed and development of the content is now in progress.
A fundamental piece of this work was partner involvement. The Alliance ensured that external partners including Tribes, partner agencies and DCYF staff at all levels were communicated with and had the opportunity to share perspectives and feedback.
The structure of the planning group evolved this year, with the block leads becoming the curriculum development team. Initially, regular meetings for block leads focused on developing learning objectives and outlines. As that work finished, the groups combined into a team that is now working on reviewing curriculum activities and is a space for curriculum to be presented, reviewed and piloted.
Goals in FY24 include continued partner engagement and finalization of the Core curriculum.