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Building Family Opportunities
Building Family Opportunity (BFO) is a program designed to provides services to help jobless families with their educational, training and employment needs. The Department for the Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) and commenced in 2010. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill stated, “The BFO program is about wrapping services and supports around families, including those who experience intergenerational unemployment, with the ultimate goal of finding and keeping a job.”
The initial task was to conduct analysis and architect a data framework using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Although organisationally DCSI had CRM, they were using Excel to capture data about cases. As the official record keeping system for BFO, the framework needed to facilitate two streams of information:
1. Capture longitudinal data for program evaluation
2. Case management to document and manage enquiries and support provided to program
In addition to the case workers, researchers from Flinders University assisted in structuring the program The framework needed to facilitate the program from an information access and technology perspective.
The data management framework required extended flexibility and accuracy to support the individuals involved in the BFO program. Taking an 80/20 approach, we established the core information capture requirements that formed the framework foundation. These requirements were consistent and did not change throughout the program. Yet, inherent in Dynamics CRM is excellent flexibility which allowed us to add and adjust data requirements on demand.
The second challenge was to use the captured data in a meaningful way to analyse longitudinal impacts. We use mixed-method data management approach — Dynamics CRM held the living data while the University provided data research software to capture data snapshots. The data was meticulously organised and exported regularly to map out the longitudinal impacts. The ongoing challenge was to ensure consistent data capture by both case officers and program administrators. Rigorous data management approaches and processes worked to minimise distortion and noise in the data. This strict and documented approach ensured the evaluation outcome was scientific and accurate.
More than 400 people have found work through the program since 2010, and more than 800 people have entered training programs.
In September 2014, an additional $2 million in funding has been provided to BFO to include up to 350 long-term unemployed families in the northern suburbs.
The data supported by analysis provides insight to researcher and case worker to support participants. The BPO program takes a ‘life-first’ rather than ‘work-first’ social support model.
Strengths-based intensive case management facilitates a holistic and integrated approach to service delivery with a long-term approach to social services delivery. This program demonstrates a better way to deliver social security.
BUILDING FAMILY OPPORTUNITIES
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