Waypoint NH is a private nonprofit agency that offers social services for much of New Hampshire. In November of 2020, Waypoint was selected by the state of New Hampshire to administer most of the state’s Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) plan for voluntary, Motivational Interviewing (MI)-centric case management services.
The FFPSA creates a significant expansion of prevention services for at-risk families, but with this comes new requirements for reporting and fidelity measurement that many agencies, like Waypoint, were not set up to manage.
“We were staffed and ready to take on cases by March of 2021,” said Katie Buckley who manages the Community Based Voluntary Services (CBVS) program at Waypoint NH, “but we were still unsure on how we were going to monitor services. A big piece for us was how we will prove our fidelity in MI. It’s something we hadn’t done before. We did a lot of research on how to determine if we are providing the spirit of MI in our services and about coding systems and how would we score that in our sessions. That’s when we were introduced to Lyssn by policy research center Chapin Hall.”
Helping supervisors and staff
Waypoint, like many providers offering Family First programs, had taken on an immense new workload and they needed help in meeting the requirements of FFPSA. Lyssn provided a way for them to monitor sessions, help supervisors and staff understand and improve the use of Motivational Interviewing, and help caseworkers reflect on sessions and adjust based on what they learn.
“Our goal is to help serve clients in the best way we can. The only way we can assure that we are doing what we need to do is to continue to assess our skills and the quality of services that we are providing to our clients,” said Katie. “Lyssn does that and I think will also help our staff feel more confident as they grow their skill level and become fluent in MI.”
Lyssn can reduce the burden on busy supervisors and providers; helping them keep their focus on helping families. Lyssn can help them evaluate sessions, practice skills, and better understand difficult situations and opportunities.
A new way of monitoring fidelity
Waypoint is in the process of fully integrating Lyssn into their day-to-day programming. “Something we like to say is that we are ‘building the kite and flying it, all at the same time’. We are growing the program and have the opportunity to help so many families. And using Lyssn is a way for us to prove all of the good work that we are doing,” said Katie. “We can show how many open-ended questions we are asking, how we do reflective listening, and how we use affirmations and other sometimes-challenging MI skills in the moment with a client. And for areas where we need improvement? Everyone here wants to grow and do our best to provide better outcomes, so we see that information as a positive as well.
For Waypoint, Katie says it has just begun. “We’ve only recently integrated Lyssn, and they’re currently helping our staff get comfortable and familiar with recording sessions and using the platform. We’re very excited and confident about what it can do for us in meeting Family First fidelity requirements.”