Public-private partnership focuses on improved outcomes and public sector savings
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) recently signed a contract with the Arnall Family Foundation to implement the state's second Pay for Success program. Pay for Success, also known as a social impact bond, is a form of contracting in which private funders assume the risk by providing upfront capital to implement an evidence-based or promising intervention, and the government provides funding only if pre-determined success measures are achieved. If the intervention is not successful, the government pays nothing.
Through this contract, DHS will expand an in-home prevention program called Intensive Safety Services (ISS) that is designed to keep children safe in the home while their parents complete services instead of the children entering foster care. This program provides intensive services from a Master's-level therapist to address parental needs that led to the abuse and/or neglect of their children. ISS is offered throughout the state and is experiencing success in each region.
"Our Child Welfare Services has focused efforts for the past several years on outcomes-based results such as the prevention of further abuse and neglect of children who come to our attention," said Ed Lake, Director of DHS. "This Pay for Success partnership with the Arnall Foundation enables us to expand our ongoing efforts, reducing trauma to children and making a real difference in the lives and futures of the families we serve."
The Arnall Family Foundation provided $142,220 to DHS to expand ISS in Oklahoma County. A minimum of 26 cases serving approximately 47 children must be initiated each year of the contract. The contract is expected to span three years which will ultimately serve 78 cases and approximately 140 children.
For each successful ISS case, a payment of $9,480 will be made by DHS to the Arnall Family Foundation until the original investment is repaid. A case is determined successful if the child or children in the family served by ISS have not been placed in foster care at 12 months post ISS engagement.
"We are excited to enter into this public-private partnership with DHS," said Sue Ann Arnall, president of the Arnall Family Foundation. "We look forward to continuing to partner with the state in future Pay for Success programs that align public investment with outcomes-based services."
Cross Sector Innovations, an Oklahoma-based company, served as an intermediary providing technical assistance and transaction structuring for the contract and continues to provide consultation throughout evaluation. "This model is a prime example of how innovative public-private partnerships can offer new solutions and promote investment of resources in ideas that work," stated Ed Long, Founder and Principal of Cross Sector. "The Arnall Family Foundation and DHS are to be commended for their leadership. This approach illustrates that more is possible."
Editor's Note: If you would like localized data, we have information broken down by various portions of the state that include the total number of families served and children safely kept out of foster care.
About Intensive Safety Services:
DHS for the past three years has been taking advantage of flexible federal funding to provide intensive safety services to families in their homes. The goal is to address safety concerns, prepare the family for counseling or other types of services, and prevent further abuse or neglect of the children. The ultimate goal is to safely reduce the need for children to come into the foster care system. Families must meet certain criteria to be selected for this program and the safety of the children are continually monitored by DHS and therapists in the home. ISS began in July, 2015 in Oklahoma County and is now operational statewide. As of July, 2018, 337 families have received ISS services across the state. There were 767 children served in the 337 cases and 611 children (80 percent), were able to safely remain in their homes while their parents completed service plans and the children did not come into the custody of DHS. Of these cases, 201 have been closed due to successful completion of the ISS requirements.
NorthCare is the contracted service provider of ISS in Oklahoma County. The program and its results are being independently evaluated by the University of Oklahoma Biomedical and Behavioral Methodology Core. For more information, contact DHS Office of Communications.
About the Arnall Family Foundation
Founded in 2015, The Arnall Family Foundation seeks to make lasting, transformative improvements to the systems and programs in Oklahoma County that serve children and families involved with child welfare as well as criminal justice reform through results-driven investments and strategic convening of community partners. The Arnall Family Foundation also operates the WaterShed Animal Fund which invests in innovative programs with exemplary institutions and individuals to better the lives of companion animals. For more information, visit
About Cross Sector Innovations
Cross Sector Innovations provided technical assistance and transaction structuring for this Pay for Success contract and continues to provide consultation throughout evaluation. Cross Sector Innovations (Cross Sector) facilitates social impact in Oklahoma by serving as an intermediary for innovative public-private partnerships and resource investment. Cross Sector also consults with individual public, private and nonprofit organizations to enhance their impact on social outcomes. For more information, visit