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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.

Related Past Initiatives

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.

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.

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.

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.

Related Resources

10 Practices Part Two

The Child Welfare Leader’s Desk Guide is designed to help busy child welfare leaders gauge their agency’s effectiveness and chart a course toward measureable improvement. Part two of the Desk Guide includes research, references and appendices that will help leaders and their staff make the business case for improving policies and practices, with a goal of improving how children in the child welfare system fare.

10 Practices Part One

The child welfare leader’s desk guide is designed to help busy child welfare leaders gauge their agency’s effectiveness and chart a course toward measureable improvement. New leaders will benefit from the desk guide’s structured, yet flexible road map for assessing their agency’s strengths and opportunities and creating an agenda for change.

The Connecticut Turnaround

This report summarizes how Connecticut has made substantial progress in 5 years turning around its troubled child welfare agency. Partnering with the Casey Foundation and others, the state has instituted improvements, driven down the number of kids removed from homes and ensured that children entering state custody live in families whenever possible, not in group placements. 

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