This Week, at Office of Strategy Managements request, guest Blogger Josh Wizer-Vecchi shares an overview of some very innovative work he spearheaded, targeted directly at some of Rhode Island’s most vulnerable young children and their families.


Working as an integrated system requires us to think differently about how we do our work. It requires that we think about the services and supports we can provide to families, as opposed to the programs a family fits into. In 2016 we began work on a project to shift the way we think about our work with the most vulnerable families and children. We pulled together a small team from across programs, including nurses, social workers, and educators as well as direct service staff, supervisors, managers and vice presidents. The team was charged with “working as a team”  to find ways to better support zero to three-year-old children recently involved in DCYF investigations.

The families of these children, referred through a section of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, are to be offered a routine developmental screening to identify possible developmental delays. Families are also offered additional supports and services to engage them in long term programs or supports. Our project sought to determine if, by serving families with an integrated, cross-program team, we could better connect with them initially, provide supports in the short term, and keep them engaged in appropriate services in the long run.

Over 2 and a half years, the team served a small subset of families and identified opportunities for increased collaboration or seamless service provision by utilizing the varied expertise and organizational connections of the team. In early 2019, as we began wrapping up the pilot project and identifying which practices to begin integrating into the agency, our CEO and Chief of Strategy had the opportunity to share some preliminary data on the project with Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation while attending the  Child Welfare League of America’s annual meeting in Washington DC., this past May.

Click here for a link to the one-pager they shared!