Helping Communities Strengthen Services for Children and Families

Posted November 2, 2015
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog helpingcommunitiesstrengthenservices 2015

Casey’s new report, A Child Wel­fare Leader’s Desk Guide to Build­ing a High-Per­form­ing Agency, shares con­crete ways by which com­mu­ni­ties can review their child wel­fare ser­vices to see if they’re keep­ing kids safe and fam­i­lies strong. 

The desk guide ded­i­cates an entire sec­tion to help­ing sites devel­op a broad array of child wel­fare ser­vices. It spells out four fun­da­men­tal ques­tions that com­mu­ni­ties and agency lead­ers can ask about their cur­rent net­work of child and fam­i­ly ser­vices. It also lists the types of ser­vices — every­thing from pre­ven­tion pro­grams to out-of-home place­ment assis­tance — that com­mu­ni­ties should con­sid­er supporting. 

If your child wel­fare agency places more than a very small num­ber of chil­dren in group place­ments, it needs to assess and improve its ser­vice array,” says Tracey Feild, direc­tor of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Child Wel­fare Strat­e­gy Group. The Desk Guide helps you under­stand how to make that happen.” 

When it comes to build­ing a wider ser­vice array, more real-world suc­cess sto­ries are need­ed, Feild says. 

Vir­ginia changed its fund­ing of child wel­fare ser­vices and aid­ed local com­mu­ni­ties in con­nect­ing at-risk chil­dren and fam­i­lies to effec­tive supports. 

Delaware pilot­ed a pro­gram offer­ing ear­ly inter­ven­tion to vul­ner­a­ble teens and fam­i­lies with an end goal of pre­vent­ing unnec­es­sary fos­ter care placements. 

Child wel­fare agen­cies must con­tin­u­al­ly assess which ser­vices are need­ed to keep chil­dren safe and build child and fam­i­ly resilience,” Feild says. Agen­cies should be part­ner­ing with fam­i­lies, local providers, the courts and oth­ers to pro­vide strengths-based help in the least restric­tive set­tings possible.” 

Read the full 10-part prac­tice guide

Skip direct­ly to the focus of this post: Prac­tice #3, which focus­es on devel­op­ing a broad ser­vice array.

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