Child Welfare Operations

DSN’s experience illustrates a successful history of providing cost allocation, federal claiming, and federal compliance services to state and county child welfare and social service agencies. On the surface it would appear that DSN is simply a financial services organization. However, what is not apparent is the in-depth knowledge of child welfare and the understanding of the operation of governmental agencies that is required for DSN staff to successfully provide these services.

In order to provide these services, DSN staff must have extensive knowledge of the federal regulations and statutes applicable to child welfare operations and funding programs. The staff must have a thorough understanding of the costs and administrative activities allowable under each of the federal programs used in funding child welfare, as well as knowing the intricacies of the interrelationships between the programs. Finally, DSN personnel must adhere to the federal guidelines for developing and negotiating a cost allocation plan with the federal cognizant agency.

In creating a cost allocation plan and a federal claiming process for a state child welfare agency, DSN staff must develop an intimate knowledge of the entire organizational structure and operations of the agency. This includes the functions performed by each unit and division of the agency and acquiring a comprehensive understanding of the agency’s policy and procedures. Staff members must identify which functions are support activities versus those allowable activities that may be directly charged to a federal program. DSN must define the populations and sub-populations of clients served by the agency in order to ensure that allowable activities are being provided to eligible clients. Personnel must determine every function performed by child protection staff, intact family caseworkers, and out of home caseworkers during the life cycle of a case. This information is utilized in developing a Random Moment Time Study for calculating the claimable cost of these workers under the appropriate funding sources.

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The Six Sigma team appreciates the perseverance of the DSN team to deliver by finding alternative solutions to the changes in program scope. On behalf of our team, I would like to thank DSN for their efforts and look forward to the production release of the second generation of software. We look forward to seeing the benefits of the software in terms of efficiency and data accuracy.

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