Our Performance Culture
We at Graham Windham take our performance very seriously. We must; the consequences of our performance are staggering. A 10 percentage point increase in our rate of permanency (safe reunification of children with their parents or adoption), for example, means that nearly 100 more children have a safe, nurturing environment to call home. How’s that for motivation to do our job well!
Our performance culture requires that we start with the assumption that we are primarily responsible for what goes right and what goes wrong. Self-examination is our first instinct. That paired with our insistence on improvement drives creative problem-solving and better outcomes for children and families.
All at Graham Windham are welcome to point out where we are struggling and how we may do better, and many do. It starts from the top with the Board’s Performance Committee, which closely examines not just what we are doing every day but scrutinizes the outcomes of our work — whether we are ensuring that all children have a safe, nurturing family and the opportunities and preparation to excel in school and life. And, it comes from the frontline, our committed practitioners, who challenge the organization to better support, train and guide them so they can be their best for children and families.
To help our managers provide strong support to our social workers, clinicians, teachers, educational advocates, child care workers, and other specialists, we supply them with information technology tools that provide snapshots of how we’re doing. Our Program Performance and Planning team, which includes MSWs, a doctoral student, and an MBA, also assist managers by analyzing data, observing practices, reviewing records, and collaborating on ways to improve performance. This team and other coaches in the agency train and advise staff in our agency’s practice model, Solution-Based Casework, which provides a framework for helping families to create and carry out action plans with strategies that work. This model celebrates small and large successes, and we in turn celebrate our staff accomplishments through recognition and by rewarding good practice with merit-based awards for all levels of staff.
We are happy to celebrate safety, permanency, education, and well being. During our 2012 fiscal year, we helped our children and families achieve some of the following goals:
262 Family reunifications after a stay in family foster care
98% of the families served with our in-home preventive services avoided foster care
34 youth in our family foster care and Graham School programs graduated from high school or earned a GED
Over 70 youth from our family foster care and Graham School programs matriculated or remained enrolled in college
Graham Windham Performance Practices Highlighted by Bridgespan
In April 2012, the Bridgespan Group, a well-known non-profit consulting group, released an article titled “Building Capacity to Measure and Manage Performance,” in which the group highlighted Graham Windham’s self-evaluation practices as a leading example of excellent performance measurement and accountability practices.