Availability, Responsiveness and Continuity (ARC) Initiative

The Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services (DMCPS), in collaboration with the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (QIC-WD), performed an Availability, Responsiveness and Continuity (ARC) initiative to address organizational culture and climate. In addition to the information below, you can also visit our project page on QIC-WID's website. If you have any questions regarding the ARC Initiative at DMCPS please contact us via email or at 414-343-5738.

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What is ARC?

ARC stand for Availability, Responsiveness and Continuity. ARC is a repeatedly-proven organizational change intervention that improves work settings (cultures and climates) for staff who serve children and families. ARC is proven to develop positive work environments that improve organizational member outcomes (less turnover, higher job satisfaction, more positive attitudes, perceptions of one's work setting, work effectiveness, etc.) and child and family outcomes.

ARC Guiding Principles

ARC embeds 5 Guiding Principles

  1. Be Mission Driven
    • All staff and administrative actions and decisions should be guided by a clear focus on the wellbeing of the children and families served.
  2. Be Results Oriented
    • Measure success by how much child and family wellbeing improves and use this data to drive decision-making and improvement.
  3. Be Improvement Directed
    • Continually seek to be more effective, to eliminate barriers, and to foster change to improve the wellbeing of children and families.
  4. Be Relationship Centered
    • Focus on relationships/networks in your organization, stakeholders, and family networks to affect child and family outcomes.
  5. Be Participation Based
    • Get those with a stake (front-line staff) involved in key program decisions, solutions, and improvement efforts.

Psychological Safety

ARC teams incorporate psychological safety into the Continuous Improvement Process as they work to identify barriers and solutions to those barriers. Psychological Safety exists in a work environment in which employees perceive it is safe to raise concerns or problems, to surface mistakes made, or to express new ideas. The focus is on the early and ongoing prevention of problems, not self-protection, impression management or punishment.

Implemented Proposals

DMCPS has had four proposals that were approved and able to move towards implementation.

  • Team 1: Exception Standard
  • Team 2: Case Assignment Log
  • Team 3: Field Support Specialist
  • Team 4: Supervisory Review Feedback

You can learn more about these on the Milwaukee Site Project Blog.

How ARC was chosen

A needs assessment was completed by QIC-WD where a variety of information was explored to learn about the current workforce and the agency's workforce practices, including: recruitment, hiring, and retention metrics and processes, organizational culture and climate, and other workforce processes and initiatives, such as onboarding, mentoring, supervision, performance management, and employee recognition.

The Organizational Social Context baseline survey showed that there were several aspects of both culture and climate that were in need of improvement, including a hierarchical decision-making structure, high role conflict and change resistance among staff, and low sense of personal accomplishment and cooperation among staff.