What Works for the Workforce: Leadership Competencies in Action

The New Jersey Fellows Program: Strengthening Workforce Capacity, Leadership and Case Outcomes through Improved Data Management & Accountability

Webinar held on May 2, 2012

The New Jersey Fellows Program: Strengthening Workforce Capacity, Leadership and Case Outcomes through Improved Data Management and Accountability, was the fourth session in What Works for the Workforce: Leadership Competencies in Action – A National Webinar Series on Leading Change to Strengthen the Child Welfare Workforce.

This webinar showcases an innovative program at the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (NJ DCF) to build capacity in the area of “managing by data” in order to support the Department’s emerging quality improvement efforts, using both quantitative and qualitative data – on the ground, at the front line level, and throughout the organization. The New Jersey Fellows Program provides an opportunity for 100 DCF staff (supervisors, managers, quality coordinators, etc.) to utilize data to support improved case practice and outcomes for the children and families of New Jersey. Presenters highlight the development, implementation and impact of this creative, multi-faceted program, well as offer lessons learned, tips for agencies, and the leadership skills and competencies necessary to sustain it over time.

This session is led by:

  • Aziz Haidi is a Project Manager in Data Processing at the NJ DCF Office of Information Technology and Reporting. He started with NJ DCF as a caseworker in intake and permanency and then became a Resource Development Specialist. He participated in the design and development of NJ’s SACWIS system (NJ SPIRIT) and joined the DCF data analysis team in 2008. He has been involved with the development and implementation of the DCF Fellows Program since its inception in 2009.
  • Arnesha Roper-Lewis has been with the NJ DCF/DYFS for 9 years, and is currently supervisor of an Adoption Unit and a Supervisory Fellow. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Rutgers University, and began her career in social work at a group home for youth and adolescents transitioning from inpatient psychiatric care. Since joining DCF, Arnesha has worked as an administrative assistant, caseworker and supervisor, and has experience in the Adoption, Permanency and Resource units.
  • Michael Garr is the litigation supervisor in the Camden North local office of the NJ DCF/DYFS and a Supervisory Fellow. Mike has over 20 years of experience working with children and families. He started his career in the Camden County Probation Department in 1988, and began working as a DCF caseworker in 1993. He has expertise in both intake and licensing, and has been a member of the NJ Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board since 2010.
  • Katharine Cahn is the Executive Director of the Center for Improvement of Child & Family Services at Portland State University’s School of Social Work, and the Assistant Dean for Continuing Education. She teaches in the School’s leadership concentration, and has expertise in child welfare systems reform, system of care, family-centered services, family group conferencing, wraparound, differential response, and efforts to reduce disproportionality. She serves as Principal Investigator for the NCWWI Leadership Academy for Middle Managers, as well as the Culturally Responsive Leadership traineeship.


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