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Communities Turn to CFS for Support in Evaluation

How well is a community's overall service delivery system meeting the needs of children, youth, and their families? How can this even be measured? Faculty and staff from the USF Department of Child & Family Studies (CFS) have made a name for themselves helping communities across the nation (and beyond) answer these questions for agencies serving children and youth with emotional and behavioral problems.

A tool developed by CFS faculty known as the System of Care Practice Review (SOCPR) is used to examine a program, agency, or system’s adherence to system of care values and principles. Through the collection of indepth information from chart reviews and interviews with youth, families, formal providers and informal supports, the SOCPR provides feedback that can enhance quality improvement efforts and is applicable at all levels including the service provider, program and system levels.

SOCPR Core Team

The SOCPR Core Team plans initial steps for each community team. They meet to make decisions about roles and responsibilities for each community requesting information and use of the SOCPR. The SOCPR Core Team consists of Mario Hernandez, Debra Mowery, Wei Wang, Donna Burton, and Steve Roggenbaum. It also includes a partnership with John Mayo, Deputy Executive Director of Success 4 Kids (S4KF). Each member brings a unique strength to the SOCPR process, which in turn assists the community teams in installing the SOCPR effectively. The Core Team is currently working with the states and communities listed below:


As the first state to implement the SOCPR statewide, CFS has worked with the Arizona Department of Health/Division of Behavioral Health Services during various stages of their system of care development. CFS conducted a large train-the-trainer session, allowing Arizona to become self-sufficient and sustain their own review efforts. Currently, CFS is looking at nearly 375 case reviews completed by Arizona and is conducting a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data.

“For the first time, we will be able to compare two years of data to get a better assessment of how much Arizona is holding true to the values and principles of system of care and if services are being provided in a way that is consistent with these values to the children and families in the community,” said Principal Investigator, Dr. Debra Mowery. "With the Arizona community, we are able to get an idea of the statewide strengths and weaknesses, but we are also able to examine each geographic area and see the similarities and differences." Additional Arizona team members include Tommy Burrus, Linda Callejas, Jemal Gishe, Mario Hernandez, and Wei Wang.


CFS also has a long-standing partnership with S4KF, a local non-profit, in-home treatment program that provides services to lower income families with children who are having behavioral, emotional or mental health issues in the Hillsborough County area. For over 10 years, S4KF has used the SOCPR tool for their internal reviews and quality assurance. John Mayo has experience both as a trainer of the SOCPR, as well as a provider utilizing the information gained from it. He works collaboratively with Principal Investigator Donna Burton and his team at S4KF. John has worked (and will continue to do so) with CFS on various SOCPR trainings for communities both in the U.S. and in Canada.


Another CFS team is spending several weeks in Iowa to provide training on the case study process employed in the SOCPR. After the training, agency representatives will be able conduct their own system reviews within their communities, as well as train future reviewers. In addition to the review process that depends on an analysis of family case files, a portion of the data collected relies on face-to-face interviews with the key informants in a family case. The interviews rely on a set of questions intended to obtain the child and family’s perceptions of the services they are receiving in terms of accessibility, convenience, relevance, satisfaction, cultural competence, and perceived effectiveness.

The nature of the questions provides an opportunity for the case reviewer to obtain information about every day situations and therefore gain a glimpse of what “real life” is like for a child and family.

“Our training sessions offer case reviewers specific training in conducting semi-structured interviews. Without such thorough preparation, reviewers may fail to overlook important information and miss the chance to inform the system managers about opportunities and challenges in their system of care,” said Project Director Stephen Roggenbaum. Additional Iowa team members are René Anderson, Tommy Burrus, Michael Greeson, Norín Dollard, and Frank Reyes. For additional informationon the SOCPR, visit: http://cfscommunitysolutions.cbcs.usf.edu/oll/SOCPR.html

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