July 25, 2008 DHS Director's messages on the web
To: All DHS employees
From: Erinn Kelley-Siel, DHS interim assistant director for CAF
When Bruce Goldberg asked his assistant directors to prepare individual messages about their divisions' Transformation efforts, I realized I was seeing an important transformation of another kind - the shift from several years of planning to the beginning of a new way of life for DHS.
Interim Assistant Director Erinn Kelley-Siel
Interim Assistant Director
Erinn Kelley-Siel

This week Transformation hit an important milestone when 18 Lean leaders from all divisions met for the first time in an all-day orientation session. Over the next few weeks they will go through training on how to lead the Transformation initiatives in their divisions.

In CAF, our focus has always been on keeping vulnerable kids safe, improving family economic security, and helping individuals with disabilities achieve their employment goals. That's why the Transformation theme of "doing the right work in the right way" resonates so well with CAF employees. A quick scan of CAF's 16 Transformation initiatives shows that our staff is committed to spending time directly supporting clients and doing work in a way that is free of wasted time and effort.

And really, we have already started. I know that many of you saw the recent story in The Oregonian titled, "Oregon improves oversight of foster children." The caseworker profiled in the story has been able to meet the division-wide goal of visiting 100 percent of her clients at least once a month since February. That's in part because her North Clackamas branch was part of a pilot project to reduce paperwork for caseworkers.

That pilot project foreshadows one of the important initiatives we want to undertake, which is to get our support staff more training and technology so they can support caseworkers even more effectively than they already do. In turn, that will free caseworkers to spend more time with our clients.

Some of our other initiatives include:

  • Streamlining, standardizing and simplifying the application and verification process for our programs. This will reduce the amount of time it takes to deliver the appropriate services to eligible clients. Our goal is to increase customer satisfaction and get services out quickly by reducing the need for clients to return multiple times to our offices to complete the application process.
     
  • Improving access to technology such as GPS. This will help our caseworkers find the most efficient routes as they travel between clients so they can reduce road time, increase client time and save costs. If it works for Fed-Ex, it can work for us.

More information about other CAF initiatives will be available after we have the final roadmap finished, but what we've seen so far is encouraging. And what is most promising about the Transformation initiative in CAF and agency-wide is that our priorities are being set by the individuals who actually do the work, and our own DHS staff Lean leaders will be helping make it happen.

I continue to be impressed by the level of commitment CAF staff demonstrate to our shared vision of success for our service delivery and for our clients. Transformation will require continued commitment from all of us to be part of the solutions to the challenges identified in the first phase of this project. The return on our investment will be great - not just for us as an organization, but for the people of Oregon whom we serve.

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