APHSA Annual Report 2018
Member Stories FAIRFAX COUNTY
Fairfax County (VA) Department of Family Services has leveraged data and analytics to develop new approaches to serving TANF participants through the development of the Fairfax County Department of Family Services Data Analytics Fellowship Academy (DAFA), a voluntary, ten-month data-informed professional development program for a class of 20-25 “Fellows” who are employees from all levels and divisions. The program teaches Fellows how to leverage data and research principles to improve service delivery and to ultimately improve the lives of children, adults and families in Fairfax County. DAFA explores high priority program areas identified by agency leadership. Fellows analyze client-level data and conduct in-class exercises based on real-life challenges in the selected program areas. Fellows learn how to ask questions, analyze data and use relevant data to tell the story of their findings. DAFA includes two presentations where Fellows present their findings, practice presentation skills and propose recommendations to agency leadership and stakeholders aimed at improving services and outcomes. The Inaugural DAFA Class of 2017 focused on family economic stability and analyzed data from approximately 5,000 clients who were approved for TANF over a two-year period. The Fellows’ recommendations led to the development of a new procedure that integrates self-sufficiency and child care services and experiences. Clients who are receiving either Medicaid/SNAP and child care benefits are connected to specially trained workers who enhance the benefits process for families. The DAFA program recommendations are also informing the development of a pilot program for mothers with young children in two identified zip codes. The mothers in the pilot will construct a self-driven plan for success that focuses on capitalizing on their strengths and collaboration with family supports.
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