System Challenge: Finance

Consider this scenario...

Your state Part C system has had an unusually high increase in child count in the last 3 years with a resulting increase in funds needed to support direct services. The state budget office has indicated that this continued growth cannot be sustained. As a result, your agency leadership has requested a short and long term plan to address how the system can achieve cost-containment and maximize all available resources.

Sample Process:

Document Thumbnail: ECTA System Framework Self-Assessment

Being generally familiar with the System Framework Self-Assessment as a means to target needed changes, you review the PDF: Guidance Document and decide to convene a group of relevant stakeholders to complete the Self-Assessment for the Finance Component. This will provide baseline information about what aspects of your Finance system are strong and what areas should be improved.

In reviewing the Finance Component, your stakeholder group decides to focus their analysis on Subcomponent 1: Finance Planning Process/Forecasting.

Screenshot: Self-Assessment (Excel Worksheet)

As a result, the Self-Assessment determines that Quality Indicator FN1 contains the elements in need of improvement to respond to the challenge faced by your state. This will assist your state in identifying adequate resources at the state, and regional and/or local levels to meet service delivery needs.

In completing the Self-Assessment, your stakeholder group identified the level of implementation for each of the Elements of Quality under Quality Indicator FN1 that were identified as needing improvement along with supporting evidence.

Your team uses the results of the Self-Assessment to determine what needs to be improved to achieve cost-containment and maximize all resources and what changes to existing procedures, if any, are needed. This information is used to help set priorities for your action planning and implementation.

Specifically, as a result of the Self-Assessment, you determine that you have been using demographic data to project the amount of funds needed to support the program over time but that you have not been completing fiscal mapping to access all potential resources. You therefore identify that you need to include some knowledgeable people about several specific fund sources in your finance discussions and decision making. You conclude that you also need to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of potential fund sources to determine their fit with the program, both in terms of program requirements and potential revenue available.

In summary, the System Framework and the Self-Assessment are tools you can use to identify areas of improvement to enhance your system of services.

ECTA recommends you complete the Self-Assessment for the entire System Framework. But you may decide to complete just the Finance component or, a specific Subcomponent, but always consider how the System Framework Components interact with each other. Remember, the components are not stand-alone. Even though your challenge is related to governance, other components may be impacted by your challenge as well (e.g. Data System and Governance).

Don't hesitate to call on your TA providers for assistance in using the System Framework and Self-Assessment, including:

  • Stakeholder selection and communication
  • Stakeholder meeting facilitation
  • Priority selection of activities to address improvement
  • Action planning and implementation
  • Evaluation of state efforts

Finally, use the information provided in Considerations for Implementing System Change to help guide implementation of your improvement plan activities to improve your Finance system.

We are here to help!

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

  • CB 8040
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8040
  • phone: 919.962.2001
  • fax: 919.966.7463
  • email: ectacenter@unc.edu

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P120002 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

  • FPG Child Development Institute
  • OSEP's TA&D Network:IDEAs that Work