The Care Portal Ministry: A User’s Perspective from the Department of Corrections
Many reality and competitive TV shows are built on the very premise of providing feedback. If you’ve watched any primetime television over the past decade, you’ve witnessed the emergence of the judge as the celebrity. It’s feedback that is the true star of these shows, with honest and well-articulated feedback reigning as king. Think of American Idol in its prime: who was the true star of the show? The contestant who got voted off, or the brutally honest Simon Cowell? Only one of them would appear on the next season, and it wasn’t the competitor.
In this same vein, when we receive feedback from our ministry partners, we listen. It’s critical that we listen and respond to the observations of those using The Care Portal services in order to more effectively reach those who are most at risk. We’re grateful to those who spend the time to comment on their interaction with The Care Portal ministry so that we can understand their experiences and determine what, if any, changes need to be made.
Recently, we received feedback from a Senior Case Manager at the Johnson County (KS) Department of Corrections. Her feedback related to the Protective Homes program, which is an initiative within The Care Portal ministry that helps place at risk youth in need of a temporary residence. Unbeknownst to us, the Johnson County Department of Corrections has quantified the impact since the implementation of the program, noting the following:
“As I look at the data I wanted to share this with you, as we are doing a fabulous job in utilizing our protective homes, the placement of youth since we started this program on September 20, 2014.
In total, we have placed 54 youth in protective homes, out of 62 youth presented at CINC-JIAC in PPC. We were able to place youth, in an average lapsed time of 28 minutes, placing only on average 4 calls to secure a placement. The driving distance from the home to JIAC was only 12 miles. In contrast, as a snap shot, prior to the implementation of Protective Homes, the time lapsed to secure care was 3 hours and 50 minutes, making on average the same number of calls, but the driving distance from JIAC to the placement was 33 miles.
We have placed 12 sibling sets, of the 62 youth we processed since we started, other than returning youth back home to a family member/kinship care. In total, 18 families serving in the capacity of a “Protective Home” has been utilized since we started the program. We are so blessed to have such wonderful resources such as this, and in collaboration with a great group of professionals who work so diligently to ensure the needs and best interest of youth are being met always. We can’t thank you enough for your support and collaboration in helping us frame this work that is so vital in our judicial district. We truly have benefited from such efforts by all involved. More importantly, we have provided the best possible care, of youth, in meeting the needs of our most at risk! We thank you!”
Real, quantifiable change. A more effective tool frees up Department of Correction resources to have additional time to focus on other issues. It also speaks to an efficiency in pairing up needs with resources, for social workers have greater visibility into the resources of its existing community.
There’s a qualitative aspect, though, too. What kind of message are we sending to our at risk youth if they must wait for nearly four hours prior to a placement? Perhaps the shorter average lapsed time and average driving distance provide a greater message:
You are part of this community, and you are wanted.