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Our Work in Child Welfare

We have been developing new solutions to supporting vulnerable children and families for more than 20 years. We help child welfare agencies, policymakers and advocates do their jobs better by improving their approaches to:

Developing child welfare practices that work

We partner with jurisdictions to keep children safe and prevent unnecessary removals from families. We also help make sure children grow up in families, not shelters or group homes.

Living with family is often best when children can't live with their parents. Read about agency, data and policy practices that make it easier for children to live with kin caregivers. Learn what can be done to encourage foster parents in their important role. And see how agencies can help kids in foster care whose parents are incarcerated.

It can be tough to become an adult, especially if you’ve been in foster care. Learn how the Success Beyond 18 campaign helps teens prepare for the challenges of adulthood — and learn the high cost of doing nothing at all.

Supporting innovation

Several new tools allow agencies to measure child well-being. Caseworkers, administrators and IT staff can track and share information using Casebook, a powerful web-based tool developed to modernize agency procedures. What’s the best way to match kids to providers who can help? A tool being tested by the Institute for Child Outcomes is designed to do just that.

Neuroscience and child development research offer powerful insights that can shape how agencies work with children and teens.

Improving opportunities for young people leaving foster care

Each year, more than 25,000 teens age out of foster care, often with no connection to their families. The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative helps young people in 15 states build family connections and access job, health care, housing and other resources.

What’s the best way to help young people — including those in foster care — become successful adults? We support the Youth Transition Funders Group to develop smarter solutions. Also, we’re co-funding efforts to equip caseworkers and child welfare systems to help teens protect their financial futures and avoid being targets of credit fraud.

Partnering to improve child welfare policies at the local, state and federal levels

Current Strategies

Child Welfare Strategy Group

Practice and policy experts work with public systems to improve outcomes for children involved with child welfare systems.

Case Commons

A philanthropic web startup that is creating and implementing the first collaborative, family-centered case-management system for child welfare.

Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative

A national and state-based initiative that unites the people, public systems and resources necessary to help young people transition from foster care to adulthood.

Related Past Initiatives

Family to Family

Family to Family was an 18-year, nationwide effort to improve child welfare systems. The initiative sought to expand family and community involvement in child protection. Today, many agencies continue to use and build evidence about the effectiveness of Team Decision Making, an outgrowth of Family to Family.

Casey Family Services

Casey Family Services, a Foundation-sponsored private agency, provided child welfare services in New England and Baltimore. During its 36-year history, the agency developed the Lifelong Families practice model to connect children in foster care to enduring families. The Foundation continues to make available its research, videos, publications and other  information related to foster care.

Human Services Workforce Initiative

This initiative was the first national effort to address the urgent need to recruit, train and retain human services workers qualified to make decisions that affect disadvantaged kids and families. In 2005, the Cornerstone Consulting Group assumed leadership of the initiative, developing Cornerstones for Kids.

Urban Children’s Mental Health

Launched in 1992 and in operation for seven years, this initiative sought to create more effective, family-centered mental health services in four disadvantaged urban neighborhoods. The sites established family centers, intensive case management projects, enhanced school supports and violence prevention.

School-to-Career Partnership

UPS and Casey spearheaded this program in Baltimore, and it has since spread to cities and communities across the nation. The program links UPS and other large employers with community organizations and human services agencies to help prepare young people for independence as they age out of foster care.

Related Resources

Using Integrated Data Systems to Improve Case Management and Develop Predictive Modeling Tools

This case study is one in series of briefs that show how to invest in and use integrated data systems (IDS) in local jurisdictions to improve policies, programs and practice. This brief discusses how Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and Washington state each used an IDS to develop predictive modeling tools that expedited services and saved taxpayer dollars. These tools helped frontline caseworkers prioritize services for the child welfare and Medicare and Medicaid caseloads.

The series highlights the value of developing IDS in local jurisdictions, describes the innovative uses of IDS data, how it shapes decision-making on the ground and how it improves outcomes for vulnerable children, families and adults.

Integrated Data Is Key to “Pay for Success”

This case study is one in a series of briefs that show how local jurisdictions can invest in and use integrated data systems (IDS) to improve policies, programs and practice. This case study presents a public-private partnership in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, using an IDS to design, finance and evaluate a program to help homeless mothers reunite more quickly with their children placed in foster care. 

Using Integrated Data Systems to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes

This case study is one in series of briefs that show how to invest in and use integrated data systems (IDS) in local jurisdictions to improve policies, programs and practice. This brief discusses the improved outcomes for children in foster care being created by the states of Wisconsin and Washington through the strategic use of integrated data from their child-focused systems: child welfare, child support enforcement and Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF).

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