Innovations in Action

We are all too aware that state child welfare systems across the country are struggling to reform their systems and better serve children and families. As a private provider, Eckerd Kids has the flexibility to transform systems of care based on community needs instead of state standards. In this way we can remain committed to performance measurement and quality outcomes. As an organization, we are committed to supporting states, localities and providers across the country to achieve this same success because we know every child and family deserves a second chance. Talk to us today about how we can help you implement a similar system in your community.

Case Study: Bringing Business Intelligence to Child Welfare

Eckerd Kids was first selected to manage the child welfare system in Hillsborough County in 2012. After a series of child homicides, Eckerd Kids and the local Department of Children and Families agreed that a new approach to quality assurance was critical if additional child injuries and fatalities were to be prevented. Prior to assuming case responsibility in Hillsborough County, Eckerd Kids organized, funded and completed a multidisciplinary quality and safety improvement review of all open cases in the county. From this analysis, two distinct sets of criteria emerged. The first was a profile of those cases with the highest probability of serious injury or death occurring. These cases had multiple factors in common, including child under the age of three; a paramour in the home; substance abuse/domestic violence history; and a parent previously in the foster care system. The research and analysis identified nine child welfare practice skills that were critical to ensuring that children in the target cases remained safe. Among these were quality safety planning, quality supervisory reviews and the quality and frequency of home visits. Lastly, Eckerd Kids contracted with Mindshare to provide system overlay software allowing real time data feedback and dashboards.

Eckerd Rapid Safety Feedback® Approach

ERSF LogoEach high probability case is reviewed by Eckerd Kids quality assurance staff who focus on the nine critical case practices. These cases are reviewed quarterly until the case closes or the youngest child turns three. Eckerd Kids quality assurance staff meets with the case manager and supervisor to provide the opportunity for immediate coaching and support for case management staff. These parties meet within one business day to discuss any safety concerns and develop a plan to ensure they are quickly mitigated. Agreed upon tasks are then tracked to completion by Eckerd Kids quality assurance staff.

Initial Results

While there is no magic bullet that will prevent all child tragedies, initial results from the process are encouraging:

  • No abuse related deaths in the population receiving in home services from Eckerd Kids since implementation of Eckerd Rapid Safety Feedback®.
  • 36% improvement in the sharing of critical case information among the various providers (mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence and others) that are assisting the family in the completion of their case plan. This information is used to document the extent of positive behavior change in the family, necessary to ensure child safety.
  • 35% improvement in the effectiveness of supervisory reviews and follow-up by case managers on critical tasks that need to be completed, such as safety plans, home studies, and collateral contacts with case stakeholders.
  • 25% improvement in the effectiveness of safety plans. For example, plans are more actionable, verifiable and less reliant on parental promises of changed behaviors.
  • 22% improvement in the quality of the contacts that case managers have with the families and their children. For example, discussions are focused on real case issues and behavior changes the family is making.
  • Eckerd Rapid Safety Feedback® has been recognized nationally for its promising results and was identified as a best practice by the Los Angeles County’s Blue Ribbon Panel Commission on Child Protection.


The approach has been successfully replicated by Eckerd Kids in other environments and was implemented on a statewide basis by the state of Florida. Eckerd Kids has made presentations at multiple state and national meetings at the request of Casey Family Programs, the Alliance for Children and Families and the Child Welfare League of America and the National Association of Social Workers about this approach.

Using the Eckerd Rapid Safety Feedback® and working closely with key stakeholders to improve the child welfare system of care in Florida’s Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, Eckerd Kids took these systems from two of the worst to some of the best performing in the state in less than three years. We are now working with national partners as well as specific local and state entities to replicate the Eckerd Rapid Safety Feedback® in other communities.

Demonstrating Leadership: Alliance for Children and Families | Residential Transformation Project

The Alliance for Children and Families, a national organization of over 500 members dedicated to achieving a vision of a healthy society and strong communities for all children, adults, and families, recently embarked on a project to support residential providers as they transform.

Through a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Alliance established the Residential Transformation Cohort as a learning and change leadership opportunity that connects 15 nonprofits around the country with highly experienced executives, also from the Alliance member network.

Eckerd Kids’ President & CEO David Dennis is one of the five nonprofit executives chosen by the Alliance for Children and Families to provide personalized expert assistance to better position the selected nonprofit organizations for sustainability as effective providers of child and family behavioral health services.

Through this project, Mr. Dennis is providing guidance to the nonprofits on transitioning their operating model and making a transformational shift towards more home- and community-based approaches that include evidence-based models of practice. He was chosen by the Alliance due to his experience leading transformational change at Eckerd Kids, as well as his involvement with residential services and Eckerd Kids’ mission to share solutions.