At the core of all of Casey's major investments is the premise that improving future opportunities for vulnerable children requires helping parents secure the resources, connections, and skills they need to support, nurture, and provide for them today. The Casey Foundation believes, and works to promote, the notion that children’s success is inextricably connected to the strength and resourcefulness of their families. Yet, while families are the most critical support in a child’s life, the reality is that as a nation we continue to craft programs, practices, and policies aimed at improving outcomes for children and youth without consideration of family context, family needs, family involvement, and family influence.
This need to think about families when we think about kids—and the importance of helping vulnerable families do better by and for their kids—is at the heart of what we mean by “family strengthening” and why we promote it as one of the most critical principles of our work. We’ve put a premium on “permanent family connections” in all of our direct services work and in our child welfare reform initiatives. This “family centric” approach is fundamental to how we approach change-making efforts in all of our project areas serving children, youth, families, and communities.
Strengthening families is also the underlying perspective driving our investments designed to encourage critical audiences—major nonprofits, civic leaders, philanthropies—to support programs, shape policies, and spend resources in ways that recognize the central role that families play in helping kids succeed. We try to recognize and promote programs and organizations that have made family strengthening a priority. We also forge partnerships with national civic and policy groups in an effort to influence their thinking and build their capacity to promote family strengthening as a key strategy and a valued outcome to their constituents.