Family to Family relies on a variety of strategies for reforming child welfare systems. The initiative's technical assistance team has developed numerous tools to assist partner sites in implementing these core approaches. Although each of these strategies has proven effective in one or more sites, four strategies are deemed integral to the initiative:
- Building Community Partnerships, which entails building relationships with a wide range of community organizations and leaders in neighborhoods in which child protection referral rates are high, and collaborating to create an environment that supports families involved with the child welfare system.
- Team Decision Making, which involves not just foster parents and caseworkers, but also birth families and community members in all placement decisions to ensure a network of support for children and the adults who care for them.
- Resource Family Recruitment, Development, and Support, which involves finding and maintaining foster and kinship homes that can support children and families in their own neighborhoods.
- Self-Evaluation, in which teams of analysts, data managers, frontline managers and staff, and community partners collect, analyze, and interpret data about key Family to Family outcomes to assess whether we are making progress and to determine how policy and practice needs to be changed to bring about further improvement.
Each strategy represents good practice on its own, but it is the joint and mutually reinforcing effects of the four strategies that produce the strongest impact. Implemented together, these strategies provide a focus for practice changes that seek to achieve the outcomes emphasized in Family to Family.