In creating a force field analysis, I first had to look at the presenting problem of what I plan to change within my agency. For my field practice assignment, I am working in conjunction with my supervisor (Assistant Director) and the Director of the program on implementing changes to the provider’s contract. There are many policies and procedures that are being violated on the provider’s end of the contract that are in turn causing violations with the Department of Health and A. C. D. (Agency for Child Development). First I will give a brief history of the program and its presenting issues that we face with the providers.
In consultation with my supervisor and other caseworkers, it was a unanimous decision that our provider’s contract needed to be revised. This has been an ongoing issue between the providers and the network. There are many providers that have been with the agency since its beginning twenty-five years ago, and a lot has changed in those twenty-five years. We have had complaints from parents for things that the providers are and are not doing. We have noticed violations against the Department of Health’s regulations and the agency’s policies and procedures. The Department of Health makes unannounced visits to the provider’s homes periodically.
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During these visits the files of the children are checked and all other requirements are checked as per the DOH guidelines. Providers have been found to be out of compliance during these visits with the DOH and with our agency. We believe that if the policies and procedures were adhered to more with consequences being enforced more there would be fewer violations with the providers. With this dilemma an assumption has been made that if we revise the provider’s contract and have it address some of the issues that we encounter during our home visits and the parent’s complaints we would have a more cohesive and productive child care network.
Some of the issues that have been arising with the providers are that they are charging registration fees to the parents that we (caseworkers) as an agency register into the program. The families that qualify for the program are low-income families that are usually single parents. These parents should not be paying registration fees to the providers on top of paying a weekly fee to the agency. Many of the providers charge a registration fee between $20-$50 dollars per child. This is not a problem for children who are considered” Private”, which are children who do not come through the agency to the provider, but it is a roblem for the children that the agency registers. Another issue that is reoccurring with the providers is the problem of accepting children over a certain age. Many providers insist on only having children who are over the age of two. They feel that children who are younger than two can no be incorporated into the daily activities of “circle-time”. Other violations that have been noticed by the caseworkers in making home visits to the providers are unauthorized substitutes in the provider’s absence. Substitutes must be fingerprinted, given training in child safety and child abuse and have CPR training.
Another problem would have to do with the providers being over capacity with their license. There are two types of licenses that a provider can have, one is for a capacity of five children between the ages of six weeks to twelve years old plus two children that are part-time and these are children that are in school full-time and come to the provider’s home after school. This would give the provider a capacity of seven. Then there are the providers who have a capacity of ten plus two with the same age groups giving the provider a capacity of twelve.
The only thing that determines a provider’s license capacity is the space in the home. Many providers have between eight to fourteen children and the caseworkers are only privy of this when we make home visits, mainly unannounced home visits. As it stands now a provider’s contract is valid for the life of their license, which is two years. Child care providers must re-apply for their license every two years and then once they submit their new license to the network, they then sign a new contract. What could cause the contract from not being revised would be its disapproval from the Vice President of the child care division.
In addition, if the provider’s contract were to stay the same there would be no progression or drive from the providers to adhere to the guidelines that have changed within the Department of Health and the Child Care Network. The Critical Actors of the change would be the Vice President, the Director and the Assistant Director. The driving force of the Vice President would be that she is very much for a change in the providers’ behavior and professional attitudes toward the parents and the caseworkers. She would lso like to establish a more business like attitude with the caseworkers, other network staff, and the parents. Lastly, she is looking for the providers to learn more educational techniques from the trainings and workshops that are offered for them through the network. The restraining forces would be that she would not approve the contact because its trying to implement “too much” change at one time. Another restraining factor would be that the providers would contact the UFT union (United Federation of Teachers) because of the extra demands that are being asked of them without extra monetary compensation.
A final restraining force of why she wouldn’t approve the new contract would be the fear of having disgruntle providers and providers leaving the program because of the contract changes. The next critical actor would be the Director, her driving forces are that she meets with the providers to address their questions and concerns, she understands the ever-changing field of early childhood education, and she acts as a liaison between the caseworkers and upper management. Her restraining forces are that she is extremely busy and it may take her some time to return calls and emails.
She does not create the curriculum that the providers are being asked to implement in their programs and she is often tied to an extremely low budget that does not allow her to send the caseworkers to trainings and workshops to enhance their knowledge of early childhood education. The driving forces of the Assistant Director are that she acts as a liaison between the caseworkers, the providers, and the parents when needed. She has supervision meetings on a monthly basis with the caseworkers and she relays information back to the Director from the caseworkers, providers, and parents.
Her restraining forces are that she too is very busy and may forget to conduct the supervision meetings in a timely manner. She often relays information to the Director incorrectly and she acts on situations with the providers and parents without first consulting the caseworkers. The facilitating actors of my force field analysis would be my co-workers (the agency’s caseworkers and coordinators) the providers and myself. As for myself, I am working directly with Assistant Director and the Director in constructing the changes for the new contract. I suggested the idea of having a provisional contract.
I suggested this idea because people are often resistant to change and may not want to sign a contract that holds them to changing a behavior that has been practiced for so long without penalty. I felt that it would be better for the providers who were resistant to the new guidelines of the contract to be offered to sign a provisional contract on a trial basis (six months) rather than two years. My co-workers are also facilitating actors because they can attest to the problems that they encounter with the providers and the parent’s complaints. My co-workers will provide their input on what should be added and/or changed in the contract.
And lastly, would be the providers. Their interest and abilities had to be considered while making the changes to the contract. We as a network want to have a functioning program that differs from the other childcare networks in regards to actually implementing a curriculum and literacy. The cognitive capability of the providers has to be taken into consideration before we as an agency implement regulations that put to much strain on the providers, which will then in turn cause providers to be even more disgruntled and eventually leave the network.
The driving forces that are favorable to the proposed change would be that the network will be a more conducive and functioning educational program, which will offer the children that are in the provider’s homes a comprehensive education, and will make the children school ready. In addition, the providers will be in compliance with the Department of Health and the Family Child Care Network’s policies and procedures. Fewer providers will be written up for volitions from the department of health and the network.
The rules and regulations will be written out and explained rather than verbally expressed which would leave less room for communication errors. Providers with the network may refer other child care providers to the network because of the positive changes. Restraining forces that will be unfavorable would that be more providers would look into other networks that do not require as much on the education and literacy level as we do and would ultimately leave the program. Providers may still violate the policies and procedures of the network and he department of health. Providers that are already with the network may express the requirements of the network to other provider who may want to join the network, but may become discouraged once they learn of the requirements. The working forces of revising the contract would be that the agency would have a comprehensive child care network that surpasses others in the fact that we have our providers implementing curriculum and producing children that are school ready. Our providers would be more than “babysitters” but actually teachers.
Our providers will also have fewer write-ups with the agency and the department of health because they will be in compliance with the policies and procedures. The framing forces with revising the contract would be that the providers might feel that the revised contract is to constricting and won’t leave room for the providers to incorporate their own individual ideas with the curriculum that we are asking them to implement in their programs. They also may be resistant to the changes because more is being asked of them without more being given (monetarily).
The amenability of this force is Some unpredictable forces might include the providers actually being in favor of the changes and actually welcoming them. They may view the network as a more structured program and respect its values and ideas toward building the children’s education. They may also want to give some input or suggestions of how the contract can be changed to include the network’s changes while also including ideas that will benefit them with teaching the children. The macro forces of the proposed change may be the parents and families we serve.
I think that they will be the first people to notice the change of attitudes and service they receive from the providers and they will also notice a change in their child’s learning patterns and they things they are learning in the provider’s home. The parents will be the first to notice this because they work with the providers on a daily basis, when they drop off and pick up their children and in the conversations that they have with the provider on their child’s daily activity. In creating this force field analysis it became apparent to me that all things must be considered before implementing a change.
It may seem great and simple through words and brainstorming, but once it’s on paper in black and white it appears to be more complex. People’s feelings, ability and rights have to be considered before a change in put into effect and having it mapped out in a force field analysis, you have the chance to see it all with the positive and negative aspects. This way it is easier to balance out the pros and cons and make the change more feasible for everyone involved. The following pages describe the amenability, potency and consistency of each driving force and restraining force.
Following that is a diagram of a force field analysis detailing the driving and restraining forces of the change I am implementing within my agency. Driving Forces: a. To have a more conductive and functioning child care program • Amenability: This first driving force has a high amenability because we will alter the contract to produce the outcome that we are looking for. The modifications for the contract will include regulations that will alter the behavior that currently exist among the providers. Potency: The potency for this driving force is high also because once the provider signs the contract they are agreeing to abide by the rules and regulations of the agency and therefore, would produce a positive outcome for the goal. It wouldn’t matter if they signed a full-term contract (2 years) or a provisional contract (6 months). • Consistency: The consistency for this force is also high because once the contract is written and signed; it will stay in effect for the life of the provider’s license. b. Providers would refer others to the program Amenability: This would be high for this driving force because it would only add to the providers who want to be apart of a program with order and structure. It would produce providers who are willing to learn and teach in an early child hood educational program, while staying on accordance with the rules and regulations of the agency and the D. O. H. • Potency: This would be high because we as an agency would have new people who weren’t aware of the old practice and would be more compliant with the changes that have occurred within recent years with D.
O. H. • Consistency: This would be low because it is not certain that providers would start to refer other as soon as these changes come into effect, they may have to get used to the changes first to see how they can work with them before they recommend the agency to other providers. c. Providers having fewer write-ups for program violations • Amenability: This driving force has a high amenability because it is bound to occur if the providers sign, agree and perform within the contract guidelines. Potency: This would be high as well because the drive for the providers to do a better job would be higher and therefore cut down on the number of violations. • Consistency: This force will be high on consistency because the moral boost that the provider will have once they are in compliance and receiving positive feedback from the caseworkers and the families that they serve may deter them from regressing back to the old behavior. Restraining Force: a. Providers may look for programs with fewer requirements Amenability: This restraining force is low because a provider is considered to be an independent contractor and in that regard they have the freedom to leave a network whenever they choose to. Providers are advised that if they do wish to leave the agency they will encounter most of the same requirements because they are also the D. O. H. ‘s regulations which apply to every licensed provider in New York City. • Potency: This force would be high because we as a network have to maintain a certain amount of providers in order to receive funding from the government.
If begin to lost providers because of the revised contract and it’s requirements then it would directly effect the network and all the families we serve. • Consistency: The consistency for this force is low because this force would not stay consistent. Providers are always looking to join networks and by having these high standards of education we will be able to wean out the providers who are just looking for the benefits of a network from the ones that want to be apart of an educational program. b.
Providers may not refer others to the programs • Amenability: The amenability for this is low because as an agency we always recruit in neighborhoods and we host annual open houses for provider who are looking to join a child care network • Potency: The potency for this is high because it will aid the network in recruiting providers who have the drive and some knowledge of early childhood education rather than those who just want the network to send them some children so they can collect a paycheck. Consistency: The consistency for this force is also low, once the providers see how the new contract is working for them they might come around and see the changes for the better and begin to refer more clients but while forewarning them of the networks requirements. b. Providers will still violate the programs regulations • Amenability: This restraining force would dramatically decrease do to the consequences being spelled out in the contract.
D. O. H. and the agency’s rules and regulations would be enforced with a new system. First there will be a verbal warning, followed by a formal written citation slip explaining the violation and citing the codes which were violated. A second violation would come with a citation slip and a suspension notice with proceeding action to close the home. Having a formal way of handling violations would set this force with a high amenability. Potency: The potency would be high for this force because this action would directly affect the goal of having fewer violations with a stricter contract. • Consistency: The consistency would be low for this force because once other providers notice that the contract and its stipulations are being taken seriously then the behavior of the providers will change.