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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Pilot program aims to monitor, evaluate social service contractors

The Children’s Administration at Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services works with hundreds of contractors throughout the state. All receive the same fees no matter the quality of services they provide.

A 2012 law directed the Children’s Administration to shift from fee-for-service payment to performance-based contracting.

The Empire Health Foundation is negotiating to launch a pilot program in Spokane to monitor contractors.

“The agency will evaluate like services to determine who is having the best results and why, and then learn from that so everybody can improve,” said Sarah Lyman, the foundation’s senior associate for strategy and operations. The foundation, in the network administrator role, will hold service providers accountable if they don’t perform.

To reach as many social workers as possible, the foundation has adapted a national website,, to Spokane.

The national site, created by a former foster child, offers hundreds of free and deeply discounted resources, such as health care, clothing, food, recreation, educational services and support groups, and is open to those who provide foster care, Lyman said.

– Jody Lawrence Turner

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