SIG Content and Structure

The complete Stakeholder Interview Guide consists of 46 different items. It picks up where the OSRI leaves off, with item 24, and through item 45 it covers seven systemic factors. Each of these systemic factors consists of one or more item that has a core question and multiple follow-up questions to which stakeholders respond during an interview. The 46th item is for State-specific issues. After item 46, the SIG returns to item 1 to begin addressing the outcomes of safety, permanency, and well-being that are explored in the OSRI.

Note that there are slight differences between the paper version of the SIG and the automated SIG that is used on site. The paper instrument begins with specific instructions on page 2. These instructions include a section entitled “How to Use the Questions” on page 3. Because none of these instructions are included in the automated instrument, you should make a point of reading over at least this much of the paper instrument before you arrive for the review week

Following the instructions in the paper instrument is a chart for recording a stakeholder’s name, date of the interview, and other identifying information. There is also a Supplementary Page to be used when extra space is needed for recording purposes. These pages are also not represented in the automated instrument, because the information you would enter on them is captured when you create a new SIG.

As mentioned above, the SIG begins with item 24. Included with the item is a brief synopsis detailing the item's purpose and a list of stakeholders considered appropriate to the item. The core question and follow-up questions come next, along with a space for explanatory comments. This approach is consistent throughout the rest of the paper instrument. In the automated version, though, the core question, follow-up questions, and explanatory comments are all addressed in the same space.

Systemic Factors

While the OSRI focuses on how the agency addresses the outcomes of safety, permanency, and well-being on a case-by-case basis, the SIG focuses on the entire statewide system and explores its effectiveness across seven systemic factors. Those seven systemic factors, which span items 24 through 45, include the Statewide Information System, Case Review System, Quality Assurance System, Staff and Provider Training, Service Array and Resource Development, Agency Responsiveness to the Community, and Foster and Adoptive Parent Licensing, Recruitment, and Retention.

The items that make up each systemic factor are as follows:

Section IV: Statewide Information System

  • Item 24: Statewide Information System

Section V: Case Review System

  • Item 25: Written Case Plan
  • Item 26: Periodic Reviews
  • Item 27: Permanency Hearings
  • Item 28: Termination of Parental Rights
  • Item 29: Notice of Hearings and Reviews to Caregivers

Section VI: Quality Assurance System

  • Item 30: Standards Ensuring Quality Services
  • Item 31: Quality Assurance System

Section VII: Staff and Provider Training

  • Item 32: Initial Staff Training
  • Item 33: Ongoing Staff Training
  • Item 34: Foster and Adoptive Parent Training

Section VIII: Service Array and Resource Development

  • Item 35: Array of Services
  • Item 36: Service Accessibility
  • Item 37: Individualizing Services

Section IX: Agency Responsiveness to the Community

  • Item 38: State Engagement in Consultation with Stakeholders
  • Item 39: Agency Annual Reports Pursuant to CFSP
  • Item 40: Coordination of CFSP Services with Other Federal Programs

Section X: Foster and Adoptive Parent Licensing, Recruitment, and Retention

  • Item 41: Standards for Foster Homes and Institutions
  • Item 42: Standards Applied Equally
  • Item 43: Requirements for Criminal Background Checks
  • Item 44: Diligent Recruitment of Foster and Adoptive Homes
  • Item 45: State Use of Cross-Jurisdictional Resources for Permanent Placements



Core Questions

Each item in the SIG consists of one core question and multiple follow-up questions. Each item's core question represents the central theme that should be addressed for that item during the stakeholder interview.

It is important to remember that, because each individual stakeholder will not be able to answer every core question, the core questions that are used in each interview will vary according to the stakeholder. The list of respondents that is included with each item in the paper instrument identifies those stakeholders for whom the core question is most likely to be appropriate. These are referred to as stakeholder-specific questions.

Over the course of the review week's interviews, the interviewer should strive to ask each core question two times, of two different stakeholders, in order to get more than one perspective. Keep in mind, though, that just because a specific stakeholder isn't listed as a respondent, it does not mean that the core question cannot be used with him or her. A good interviewer will recognize when an individual has knowledge that may go beyond what the instrument recognizes as typical for that particular stakeholder group and will proceed to ask even non-stakeholder-specific core questions as appropriate. Note-takers are then responsible for recording the core question's answer in the automated application.

Note that when you create a SIG in the automated application, the application will load only those core questions relevant to the stakeholder you have identified. It is possible, however, to access other, non-stakeholder-specific core questions if necessary. The best way to simplify this process is to use Advanced Navigation.

Follow-Up Questions

Each core question is proceeded by multiple follow-up questions that interviewers may use to more fully explore the various aspects of a stakeholder's response to the core question. The follow-up questions should be seen as a guide rather than a mandate or limit on what reviewers may ask and should be used as appropriate during the interviews. Interviewers may rephrase the follow-up questions or ask related questions in order to explore the item's core question more fully. For example, instead of using the listed follow-ups, an interviewer may ask “why” or “why not” as appropriate, or request that the stakeholder restate or clarify some point.

The responses to these follow-up questions are meant to support each core question response. When recording follow-up questions and answers in the automated application, note-takers should capture the follow-up with the core question so that all of the stakeholder's answers for one item appear together.

State-Specific Questions

Item 46 in the SIG is a "blank" item that is used for State-specific questions. In addition to the instrument's core questions and follow-up questions, the Regional Office Team Leader, in collaboration with the State and the Children’s Bureau, will identify State-specific issues from the Statewide Assessment that need further examination through stakeholder interviews. These State-specific questions will be pre-loaded into the automated application before the review week begins.

In many cases, there will be no State-specific questions, and item 46 will remain as a "blank" item. For this reason, many note-takers use it as a "dumping ground" for notes taken during an interview when they get lost or are otherwise unsure of where to put the material. Following the interview, when they are revising their notes for clarity, they can then cut and paste the content from item 46 to the item where it properly belongs.