2014 Blog Entries
Outcomes Data at AK Child & Family
Jeannie Fanning, Director of Performance Improvement, on 01/16/2014
Why we measure
In the field of mental health, there has been an increased demand for accountability and examination of the services being provided by programs that serve communities.
At AK Child & Family we believe that outcomes measurement is a way to obtain valuable input from our youth, families, and referring agencies about the services they received. By implementing a robust outcomes management program not only do we provide insight to the consumer about the services we provide, we also have a tool for continually assessing and improving the quality of our services.
What we measure
We use the 240 item Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS) to conduct ongoing assessments of how students function around the following 8 domains of life:
• Behavior Towards Others
• Moods and Emotions
• Self Harm
• Substance Use
When youth enter treatment at AK Child & Family their initial CAFAS assessment scores are elevated, reflecting a need for intensive services. As youth progress through treatment and develop the skills they need to stay safe in their homes, schools and communities their CAFAS scores decrease, which reflects improvement in daily functioning. CAFAS assessments are conducted on an ongoing basis throughout a youth’s stay.
Our goal is to provide youth and their families with the specialized treatment services they need to improve functioning in their homes, schools and communities after they leave treatment. We recognize that treatment progress does not end when a family walks out the door of AK Child & Family. It is the continued application of the skills they learned in treatment that indicates their time with us was beneficial.
To assess long range progress we continue the CAFAS assessments though interviews of parents, guardians and / or the youth at 6, 12, and 18 months post discharge. The post discharge interviews are a voluntary process and we are thankful for the families that continue to work with us after their child has discharged from one of our programs. These interviews are an essential piece of the quality assessment and improvement process.
Another source of valuable data is our annual Perception of Care survey. This survey gives youth, parents, guardians and referring agencies the opportunity to assess our services. The feedback is voluntary, confidential, and provides valuable insight to the attitudes towards care while they are still in treatment.
How we use the data
The outcomes management program at AK Child & Family measures how the agency provides quality care and treatment to youth and families in Alaska. By analyzing the impact of treatment on the lives of our youth and families, we are better able to assess our treatment programs and guide program development. The data we collect assists us with shaping staff trainings, focusing agency priorities and developing programming specific to youth and family needs.
Whether we share data though our brochures or by posting to our new website, we chose to be transparent with our community regarding outcomes. We share outcomes based on what is reported to us, not based on how it might make us look. Data and outcomes are not only there to guide our decision making, but serves to help us tell the story of the youth and families we work with. We encourage our community to ask questions and let us tell you the stories behind the data to make the numbers come to life.
If you would like more information about treatment outcomes program, please visit our Contact Us page and choose the Outcomes topic.