An implementation toolkit details the process of putting a new practice, program, or intervention into action in a county or organization. It is a set of practical tools, which can be used together or separately, to help implementers systematically execute and evaluate the new practice, program, or intervention. Toolkits can be tailored to meet stakeholder needs based on the parameters of their projects.
For more information about this toolkit and the other After 18 resources available on the CalSWEC website, you can watch this webinar overview.
What you will find in this toolkit
Each link in the menu box connects you to an overview with a description of what you’ll find in that section. As you navigate the toolkit, you’ll find background information; an explanation about why the new practice, program, or intervention is needed; information about the target population; important definitions and descriptions; assessment tools; planning tools to help with execution; suggestions for an approach to evaluation; and tangible resources. When possible, suggestions for implementation from start to finish are provided.
Why Fostering Connections to Success Is Important
A significant number of youth age out of the foster care system with no permanent connections. They struggle with things that other young adults not in foster care take for granted, like establishing a social network, maintaining medical and health care, finding and keeping employment, and having a safety net in case something unforeseen happens.
The Fostering Connections to Success Act attempts to improve outcomes for youth in foster care through policy changes in six key areas (http://www.fosteringconnections.org/about_the_law?id=0001):
Support for kinship care and family connections,
Support for older youth,
Coordinated health services,
Improved educational stability and opportunities,
Incentives and assistance for adoption, and
Direct access to federal resources for Indian Tribes.
BECOMING VISIBLE - "This video features perspectives of teachers, social workers and students to shine a light on the challenges foster youth face in school and the many opportunities for deeper collaboration between education and child welfare systems to help students from foster care realize their potential (Stuart Foundation)".
"These reports explains the impact of foster care on students' educational success (Stuart Foundation)".
How Fostering Connections to Success Can Benefit Me, My County, or My Organization
Fostering Connections to Success provides an opportunity for social workers, caregivers, attorneys, service providers, and youth to collaborate in new ways. We hope these new waya of working together will lead to better outcomes for emerging adults aging out of foster care. As we implement Fostering Connections to Success, social workers will learn new knowledge and skills to do their jobs, and emerging adults will have support to develop permanent connections and skills for independent living. The leadership in counties or organizations support practice by providing the tools necessary for implementation. The practice can be evaluated to discover if the new/different way of practice, in fact, improved outcomes for emerging adults aging out of foster care
Where to Start
This toolkit provides information using two assumptions about Fostering Connections to Success:
ASSUMPTION #1 - Toolkit users are trying to help emerging youth, care providers, and community leaders learn about the Fostering Connections to Success initiative in their county and don't know where to start, what to do, or who to ask, OR
ASSUMPTION #2 - Toolkit users may have implemented some or all components of a Fostering Connections to Success initiative and need help with organizing specific components or pieces of their work.
This toolkit can be useful in both of these situations. For users who don't know where to start, the Stages of Implementation link provides suggestions from beginning to end, using the five (5) stages of implementation as a guide. Although, not exhaustive, the document provides a few case examples as well.
If users want to choose the tools individually, they can select specific tools located in the following categories:
Definitional Tools - Definitional Tools describe the problem that the county or organization is trying to solve. They explain the logic and theory used in making a decision about a practice, program, or intervention. They define the practice, program, or intervention in ways that are concise, easily understandable and can be executed by using the tools that have been provided in the toolkit. They articulate the benefits for their target population.
Engagement and Communication Tools - Engagement and Communication Tools provide leaders with materials for communicating to stakeholders about the practice, program, or intervention. They might include informational statistics about the issue to be addressed, the vision for implementation, and promotional or advertisement items. Engagement and Communication Tools are used to send a message to staff and others about the future direction of the county or organization related to the new practice, program, or intervention. The tools can be downloaded to lead focused discussions for a variety of audiences.
Assessment Tools - Assessment Tools guide information-gathering from quantitative and qualitative sources. They assist in determining whether your county or organization is ready for the new practice, program or intervention. The Assessment Tools contained in specific toolkits may be different depending on the practice. They can be tailored so that they meet county or organizational assessment needs.
Planning Tools - Planning Tools are things to help implementers put their county or organizational goals into achievable, sequential action steps that enable measurement of progress toward full implementation.
Training/Coaching and TOL - Training is one of the links between policy and practice. Training Tools are helpful in teaching policies and procedures, imparting values and principles, modeling awareness, and conveying steps for implementation. The tools in this section can be used transfer of knowledge and skills from the classroom to the field.
Policies and Procedural Tools - These tools describe policies and procedures recommended or required for successful implementation of the initiative, program, or intervention. They are a set of documents that describe an organization's policies/rules for operation and/or practice and the procedures necessary to fulfill those policies.
Evaluation Tools - Evaluation Tools provide a framework for consideration in a county or organization, provide suggestions on how to extract or export data, and assist the county in knowing that other reports can be used to get results for their implementation efforts. The goal is to increase the fidelity of evaluation efforts by providing assistance in the form of the materials in this section.
Fiscal & Funding Tools - In times of scarcity, finding money to fund new projects may be difficult because organizations are already taxed, and managers have to operate with stricter budget requirements and limits. This is particularly true for the child welfare system; the same or similar level of productivity is expected with fewer resource allocations. Potential funding sources may be available for your practice, program, or intervention. Potential funding sources may be available for your practice, program, or intervention. Sometimes, people have been able to secure funding in creative ways.