Eboney Kraisoraphong received her master of social work (MSW) from Temple’s School of Social Work in 2000. In January 2016 she became vice president of strategic quality management at Northeast Treatment Centers, a nonprofit behavioral health and social services provider. We spoke with Eboney about her career in child welfare management, her transition into a new role, and how changes in accountability measures benefit clients.
As vice president of strategic quality management, what do you do?
I look at our organization’s quality and performance measurements and improvement processes. It’s a form of program evaluation–we want to make sure our services are effective, efficient, accessible, and satisfactory to our clients.
One way we look at quality is through case record reviews. We take random samples of client records and ask questions: Did they get the service they need? Were they involved in their treatment? We also routinely conduct client surveys so we hear from them directly about their experience with our services.
Another method for evaluating our effectiveness is to analyze data about our clients, such as data captured in their electronic records. I work with the agency’s IT and program management teams to identify how best to collect, analyze, and report data on our key performance indicators. We look for trends by program and by service type and then think about improvement needs, such as policy/procedure changes or staff training.
What shifts in the field have you seen, and how do they affect your new role?
Performance measures and outcomes have become a big focus in the non-profit industry. In child welfare, for example, we’ll look at how long kids are placed in foster care and whether they’re placed back in the home or are adopted. A successful outcome for children in foster care is to be safely reunified with their family as quickly as possible. For our addiction and mental health services, we look at attendance and retention rates, length of service and rates of successful treatment completion.
How did your MSW degree prepare you for your career?
When I entered the workforce, I already had a master’s degree in psychological services. I was committed to working in child welfare but wondered how I could be more effective. That’s when I realized that the social work degree would help me understand the larger systems that affect families and individuals. I was also interested in staff management, because I feel that when it comes to making a real impact, cultivating a strong, competent staff makes all the difference.
What drew you to Temple?
In the mid-’90s Temple was the only school that had a part-time program in social administration and management [now the School of Social Work]. It made my choice pretty easy. But once I was there, I got to work with professionals in other agencies. For example, I had a friend who, unlike me, was enrolled in the clinical track. It was nice to see things through his lens—his career path and what he was getting out of the program. There was another classmate who worked for the federal government, and it was interesting to compare her work to what I was doing at the county level. The diversity of those experiences provided networking opportunities, and we learned from one another as much as we learned in our courses.
Why is it important for your clients that you to are doing what you do?
They say if things aren’t measured, they’re not managed. And there’s truth to that. It really is important to make sure we’re doing the best we can. Also, to secure funding these days, we have to not only show how we are using the funds, but also show how our clients are better off as a result of our efforts. That accountability to our clients is what makes my job matter most.