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Journal of Public Management & Social Policy

Abstract

Increasingly child advocates have become involved with persistent litigation in order to improve the performance of publicly administered state child welfare agencies. However, strategic plans for change are often implemented without sufficient attention given to assessing the level of and strengthening organizational structural capacity to support system-wide change. Using the conceptual foundation of organizational structural capacity by Hall et al. (2003), a two agency case study was conducted examining the structural capacity factors of relationships and networks, infrastructure and process, and planning and development in the context of litigated reform of the Washington State and New Jersey child welfare agencies. Examination of panel meeting minutes, monitoring reports, and other court documents revealed significant weaknesses in the three structural capacity areas that may have contributed to the failure to attain or maintain half of required performance benchmarks by the end of multi-year court oversight.

 

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