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July/August 2004Vol. 5, No. 6Child Welfare Collaborations: Lessons Learned

Two recent publications document the challenges and successes of child welfare collaborations in the State of North Carolina and in Los Angeles County. While the details are specific to the local areas, the lessons learned may be helpful to people undertaking similar efforts in other communities.

North Carolina: Child Welfare and TANF. In May 2003, the Children's Services Section of the North Carolina Division of Social Services merged with the Family Support Services Section to become "Family Support and Child Welfare Services." The April 2004 issue of Children's Services Practice Notes discusses resulting county-level collaborations between Work First (TANF) and child welfare programs. Included are benefits of collaboration, strategies for overcoming some of the most common barriers, and what child welfare workers need to know about Work First workers to build stronger relationships. The issue is available online at

Los Angeles County: Children's Planning Council. In 1991, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors created the Children's Planning Council to serve as its principal planning body to improve conditions for children and families by integrating and coordinating health and human services. This paper discusses 10 lessons learned by the author and her colleagues who have tried to "walk the talk" of public/private cross-sector collaboration in Los Angeles. It concludes with some of the key challenges facing the Council as it enters its second decade. The paper is available on the Children's Planning Council website at (Editor's note: Link is no longer active).

Related Items

The March 2004 issue of Children and Youth Services Review includes an article titled, "Teaming Up: Collaboration Between Welfare and Child Welfare Agencies Since Welfare Reform." Using data from a survey of State welfare directors and in-depth case studies in 12 States, the authors found that 1996 welfare reforms provided a fertile environment to improve collaborative efforts between welfare and child welfare agencies. The issue can be accessed at

Other articles about innovative child welfare collaborations can be found in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

  • "Collaboration with Law Enforcement Found to Enhance Abuse Investigations" (October 2003)
  • "Building Successful Collaborations Between Child Welfare and Substance Abuse Treatment" (August 2003)