By Anila Neumeister
Program Lead, Neighborhood Resource Network Program
Children and Families Commission of Orange County (CFCOC)
On December 15, 2016, nonprofits providing critical services to young children and families in Orange County had a unique opportunity to take part in a two-day Service Provider Readiness Accelerator Training. In partnership with the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), the Institute for Child Success offered, “Adapting to an Outcomes Based World: Service Provider Readiness Accelerator” training to one of four jurisdictions as part of their Pay for Success technical assistance initiative. The Children and Families Commission of Orange County was selected based on our interest in the training, as well as our dedication and intensity in completing the feasibility study for our Neighborhood Resource Network Program (NRN) thus far. Nine service provider organizations participated in the training. Among those represented were Child Behavioral Pathways, Children’s Bureau, Help Me Grow, MOMs Orange County, and Orange County Child Abuse Prevention Center. All organizations focus on children from birth (or prenatal stage) to age five. More than 25 individual service providers attended each day. Participants included Board of Trustee members, Executive Directors, Chief Financial Officers, and program managers.
Orange County’s Service Provider Readiness Accelerator Training provided bootcamp-style coaching with a focus on pay for success contracting, finance, performance management, intellectual/human/social capital and the importance of networks and collaborations. The end goal was to prepare service providers to be ready and competitive in an increasingly outcome-based financing world. Therefore, while not specific to Pay for Success (PFS), this training certainly helps understand and prepare for a PFS financing model.
Feedback from the training has been very positive. “This two day training was time incredibly well spent. The information went well beyond the pay for performance model and helped provide some new perspective on the overall non-profit business practices. Simple shifts in thinking from “sustainability” toward “adaptability” and from “outputs” toward “outcomes” will be very helpful concepts as we retool for our future as a community service provider,” said Dr. Brett Patterson, Program Director for Child Behavior Pathways.
Participants posed thoughtful and engaging questions leading to open and honest discussions. Despite some apprehension about outcomes oriented contracting, the group unanimously saw the importance and timeliness of the training. Executive Director Scott Trotter and Program Manager Julie Chambers of the Orange County Child Abuse Prevention Center both saw great value in the training, stating, “The NFF training gave our team some useful frameworks and concepts to help get our organization in shape to align around results. It made us think about changes we can make to direct our programs toward long-term outcomes instead of standard measures for inputs and outputs.”
Next steps include additional technical assistance provided by NFF to each organization that participated in the training. Technical assistance may include deeper conversations about PFS and answering specific agency questions, a review of financial plans/reports, outreach to agency board members about the content that was shared during the training, and/or any other coaching that would be helpful.
The Commission is very grateful for the opportunity to partner with ICS and NFF to provide this training to service providers in Orange County and deepen their understanding of outcome based financing in our jurisdiction.