To ensure that they provide clear, up-to-date guidance to its social workers, the San Francisco County CWS agency should designate specific personnel to stay informed of relevant statutory, regulatory, and needed practice changes and to ensure that corresponding updates are made to its policies and procedures.
The Policy Development Unit was established in August 2014. Staff responsibilities include: 1. Developing and updating templates used for Policies, Desk Guides, Policy Update Notices, and Service Information Alerts. 2. Responding to research requests for policies from FCS and City Attorney's Office. 3. Researching and staying abreast of statute, ACLs and ACINs. 4. Coordinating and facilitating workgroups for the development of Policies, Desk Guides, Policy Update Notices and Service Information Alert. 5. Meeting with Subject Matter Experts to develop and draft policies. FCS has developed a communication and implementation system for new policies and Policy Update Notices (PUNS), which includes systematic release of policies to management, supervisors and line staff. This includes monthly updates on policy at supervisor/management meetings, and a monthly digest to clarify policy updates.
The Policy Unit is currently in place and is responsible for reviewing all new statutory and regulatory changes and developing new policies, procedures and manuals. Policy staff are now included in all practice change initiatives to ensure that relevant policies and guidelines are developed. For example, as of July, 2014, policy staff began attending the monthly supervisor meetings (SAC) and they participated in the Safety, SDM and Supervisory Oversight workgroups. Recommendations from the workgroups were reviewed and discussed with the management team and turned over to the Policy unit who is now working with the Subject Matter Experts (SME) to develop manual sections and desk guides for staff. By doing this, we will be able to provide staff with up-to-date guidelines and performance expectations.
A process for policy development is also in place. It includes:
Identifying critical policies for each program
Ensuring existing federal and state laws, including ACLs and Division 31 regulations are properly referenced
Writing Policy and corresponding Best Practice Desk Guides for staff
Including SMEs throughout the process
Completing final edits and adding links to the new policy and desk guides
Obtaining necessary approvals
Dissemination to staff
Training (as needed)
The process for developing all new manuals and desk guides for staff is an ongoing process which will take at least a year to complete. In the meantime, all new statutory and regulatory changes are now automatically reviewed by the policy unit and through the dissemination of Policy Update Notices and Service Information Alerts staff is notified of relevant statutory, regulatory, and needed practice changes.
Examples of these will be sent via email.
To date we have hired a Policy Supervisor who will develop policies and procedures requiring supervisory review of the hotline tool. The supervisor will come on board June 9, 2014. Additionally, we are in the process of redirecting 5 Protective Services Worker (PSW) positions for the Policy unit. We expect to have them on board by July 21, 2014.
Once the Policy Unit is established, it will review and analyze relevant, statutory, and regulatory laws and practice changes that are issued by CDSS in the form of All County Letters, All County Information Notices and All County Fiscal Letters.
The Policy Unit will update existing policies and develop relevant guidelines for staff.
Policy will work with the FCS Training Coordinator to conduct mandatory training on the new policy and practice expectations.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.