The Annie E. Casey Foundation: Helping vulnerable kids & families succeed

Family to Family

Home > Initiatives > Family to Family > Family to Family Resources > A Model for Public and Private Child Welfare Partnership
share post tweet Email Print

A Model for Public and Private Child Welfare Partnership

What is "A Model for Public and Private Child Welfare Partnership"?

To reconstruct the family foster care system requires a new role for child welfare agencies that is family-focused and neighborhood-based, relies less on institutional and congregate care, and responds effectively and flexibly to the needs of each child and family served. To make this shift requires that both government and voluntary agencies work very differently – with families, neighborhoods, and each other.

How was the tool applied in Family to Family?

The tool makes references to valuable work being implemented in Family to Family sites throughout the United States. Specific examples of efforts in Ohio are used to help the reader understand how public/ private partnership works. The two "case examples" of communities working to develop public/private partnerships are: Cuyahoga County, Ohio (Cleveland and the surrounding area), and Hamilton County, Ohio (the Cincinnati area). These sites reflect developments in other jurisdictions. While both sites are in the midst of fluid change processes, neither is free of prob-lems. That is not the reality for child welfare systems. Each site illustrates some elements of a new model relationship. Both com- munities are working to conduct business differently and to forge new public/private partnerships. Key stakeholders of both sectors are working together to try to effect change.

What did we learn from these applications?

We learned that this tool can serve as a guide for forming new public/private relationships that achieve better outcomes for children who need foster care. It builds on the experiences of communities that are working together to care for their children differently, on other collaborative initiatives aimed at improved child and family well-being, and on the best thinking of outstanding public and private child welfare professionals working to change the foster care system.

What you need to get started:

This tool serves as a model of the way public human service agencies can work with contract agencies. First, it describes a vision and goals of public/private partnerships to redesign foster care, as well as issues, barriers, and challenges that must be acknowledged. It suggests strategies for partners to use in identifying, articulating, and reaching consensus on the outcomes they seek and the issues they must address. Second, it provides a toolbox of strategies for building partnership. Together, these strategies provide a range of collaborative planning, implementation, and monitoring approaches.

What you need for full implementation:

Partnerships can take many forms, varying in emphasis and strategies. We urge public and private agency representatives to select the strategies most appropriate and useful in your circumstances, to adapt the approaches to fit your needs and capacities and to use these ideas to develop new methods for building partnership. It is our hope that this tool and the examples presented will allay fears that come with radical alteration of roles and relationships. We hope the tool will help public and private agencies integrate new experiences and lessons into practice, build upon a strong foundation of common goals, and develop new strengths and skills for working collaboratively.

How to find out more:
resources, examples, references:

Order the Building Public/Private Partnerships tool from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Consultants available to answer questions or lead initial discussions include Dennis J. Braziel, Child Welfare League of America, 703.866.4364, Fax 703.866.4509.