February 2008Vol. 9, No. 1How Systems of Care Grantees Engage Families
A new series of issue briefs reports on findings from the nine grantees participating in the Children's Bureau's Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care demonstration initiative. Developed by the National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center (NTAEC), A Closer Look debuts with a report on "Family Involvement in Public Child Welfare Driven Systems of Care." The issue brief draws on insights from the grantees to address the challenges of and strategies for involving families in meaningful ways in such areas as agency policy development and management.
Four challenges to family-agency partnership were identified by the grantees:
- Agency readiness to partner with families
- Training and professional development for families
- Recruitment and retention of family partners
The report summarizes multiple strategies employed by the grantees to overcome each challenge. Some of the suggestions include working with parent advocacy organizations, developing mentoring programs, partnering with faith-based organizations, and providing partial reimbursements for parents. In accord with their systems of care focus, the grantees' strategies emphasize collaboration across many groups.
Future issues of A Closer Look will explore grantees' findings in such areas as strengths-based care, interagency collaboration, cultural competency, and accountability. The series will be posted on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website. The grantees and NTAEC are supported under the Children's Bureau discretionary grant program.