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To achieve excellence in child protection, understanding the strategic triangle discussed in the Introduction is not, by itself, sufficient. Value creation, enhancing the authorizing environment, and capacity building must be continuously monitored and measured. It is no longer enough to say, “We think we are doing a good job.” The authorizing environment rightfully expects and demands more.

Recognizing this very legitimate expectation for factual information, the Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO) developed and implemented a strategy to ask the public what it values. In the past, public child protection agencies simply assumed that they knew what the public valued. Even worse, they behaved as if they were the experts on public value and were thus justified in telling the public what it should value. From that arrogant premise, agencies proceeded to do what they thought best, expressing confusion and dismay when the authorizing environment criticized their efforts and expressed intense dissatisfaction with their outcomes.

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