Help Kids Thrive by Focusing Child Welfare Casework on Family Permanence

Posted July 1, 2016, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Blog helpkidsthrivecasework 2016

It is not easy to pro­vide chil­dren in our nation’s child wel­fare sys­tem with safe­ty, per­ma­nence and well-being. But there are incen­tives, poli­cies and prac­tices that can help, start­ing with a focus on fam­i­ly rela­tion­ships and permanence.

In A Child Wel­fare Leader’s Desk Guide to Build­ing a High-Per­form­ing Agency, the Casey Foun­da­tion describes how child wel­fare case­work can do more to pro­vide chil­dren with sta­ble liv­ing sit­u­a­tions and build children’s long-term fam­i­ly relationships.

Engag­ing children’s par­ents and kin at every deci­sion point is key, as is mak­ing sure your com­mu­ni­ty has a wide enough ser­vice array to pro­vide kids and fam­i­lies with the help they need in the least restric­tive set­tings,” says Tracey Feild, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Casey’s Child Wel­fare Strat­e­gy Group

Agen­cies also need to ask them­selves some key ques­tions — iden­ti­fied in our desk guide — and tweak their approach­es as a result. For exam­ple: Are chil­dren in your agency’s care get­ting stuck in one par­tic­u­lar type of placement?

In our expe­ri­ence as con­sul­tants to pub­lic agen­cies,” Feild says, too often we find kids end­ing up in group place­ments that are not the right fit for them, sim­ply because those place­ments are avail­able. Our desk guide helps agen­cies iden­ti­fy alter­na­tives, such as step­ping up kin sup­ports and work­ing with pri­vate providers to imple­ment more inno­v­a­tive, in-home and com­mu­ni­ty-based programs.”

For more on prac­tice mod­els, see Prac­tice #8 of Casey’s child wel­fare desk guide.

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