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

Family to Family

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Strategic Communications

About the Authors and Resource People:

The primary author of this tool is Kathy Bonk. She is the Executive Director of the Communications Consortium Media Center (CCMC) and is a former foster parent. She is a member of the Family to Family technical assistance team and has been working in the area of child welfare reform since 1987. She served as a consultant to the Edna McConnell Clarke Foundation on its intensive family preservation services program and also to the W.K. Kellogg Families for Kids initiative on adoption reform. Both efforts resulted in major policy changes and new federal programs to support child welfare agencies.

The Communications Consortium Media Center is located in Washington, DC and is a nonprofit media group dedicated to helping foundations, non-profits and government agencies use media and new technologies as tools for public education and policy change.

CCMC has worked with child welfare agencies in 25 states and has related programs in the area of juvenile justice, child care, learning disabilities, devolution, health care reform and Census 2000. Members of the staff conduct media training programs and provide help in the development of strategic communications plans.

Several other communications professionals helped in the development of the concepts outlined in the strategic communications tool. Marilynn Knipp is the Director of Communications for the State of Missouri's Department of Social Services and chaired the communications task force of the American Public Human Services Association. APHSA conducts regular meetings among communications professionals.

Mindy Good is the communications director for Hamilton County, Ohio that includes the Family to Family initiative servicing Cincinnati. Under Mindy's leadership, the county developed an extensive community outreach program and an excellent crisis management protocol that is used in the Family to Family tool.

Additional Reading:

CCMC Tip Sheets: (Free upon Request)

Working with Families Working with the Media
Framing the Debate: Op-eds and Letters to the Editor
Moving Messages with Public Service Advertising

The Jossey-Bass Guide to Strategic Communications for Nonprofits by Kathy Bonk, Henry Griggs and Emily Tynes. Published by Jossey-Bass 1999. $27.95 available through

"The Lives We Would Like to Set Right: Why journalistic outrage is not the best approach to the child welfare story" by Michael Shapiro, Columbia Journalism Review, November/December 1996

"Making the Media a Constructive Force in Child Welfare" by Kathy Bonk, Family Resource Coalition of America Report, Spring/Summer 1997 Vol. 16, Nos 1&2.


Kathy Bonk or Keri Monihan
Communications Consortium Media Center
1200 New York Avenue, NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202/326-8700
Fax: 202/682-2154

Marilynn Knipp
Associate Director of Community Relations
Missouri Department of Social Services
PO Box 1527
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1527
Phone: 573-751-4815
Fax: 573-751-3203

Mindy Good
Director of Communications
Hamilton County Department of Human services
222 East Central Parkway
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-1225
Phone: 513.946.2188
Fax: 512.946.2248