First Children Services (FCS) is a family owned and operated organization with a mission to achieve “Life-Changing Outcomes for Exceptional Kids.” They provide a wide range of home, school and clinic-based services to children and their families throughout New Jersey. On any given day, FCS touches the lives of more than 1,000 children and families with a dedicated workforce of nearly 200 teachers, therapists, paraprofessionals and support staff.
Valery had used Relias at a large agency prior to starting with First Children Services and realized when she arrived that they were under-utilizing the system. They provide MH, IDD and ABA services, work with more than 22 school districts and other providers, and employee an array of full-time, part-time and per diem professionals. Making sure their staff are engaged with the organization, getting the information and training they need, along with the ability to communicate with and educate external providers was key for them.
“Now that we have one source for information, it creates a chain of continuity among all of our users, among all of our service recipients and service givers.”
As their agency continues to grow, FCS has been able to maintain the family-owned feel but with a corporate mantra. As they have implemented change and worked with their Quality Improvement Committee (QIC), they have involved every service level; however, change has been challenging to implement.
There were three main areas of focus with Relias for their agency:
- Overall agency impact: seeing the financial and quality of care impact on the agency.
- External stakeholders (school districts and other agencies): providing education to teachers and other providers based on what their staff have learned from Relias.
- Internal stakeholders: staff seeing the benefits and feeling more engaged with the agency because of Relias. The organization can involve all members of the agency at every level during times of change.
First Children Services uses Relias to create continuity of care and reinforce their agency’s vision. They have adopted a blended learning approach where online training is discussed at staff meetings afterward. Their leadership have reviewed the training and resources within Relias and cross-walked those items to their vision, even at a departmental level. Through Relias, the agency built online courses and live training. FCS has created a best fit for their agency and infused their agency mission and vision into staff training.
“Even a smaller organization can save thousands of dollars a month when you calculate all the costs.”
For an organization like theirs—in the middle of the market in terms of pay—giving extras like training, CEs and incentive plans are key to retaining staff. Valery has per diem staff on the system as well—all a part of her plan to better engage and “tether” those staff to the agency, which reduces turnover. “You have to make them want to stay with you,” says Valery.