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February 2008Vol. 9, No. 1Primer Hands On-Child Welfare

The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NRCOI) recently introduced comprehensive training materials to help stakeholders build systems of care for children and families in the child welfare system. Primer Hands On—Child Welfare is based on the premise that child welfare can provide leadership in engaging partners (including families themselves) to build a system of strategic alliances and provide wraparound services that meet the individualized needs of children and families.

The training materials include a skill-building curriculum, trainer's notes, PowerPoint slides, and a network for peer support and technical assistance. They incorporate real-world examples, a case method approach using system-building scenarios, peer exchange and teamwork, and ongoing coaching and support to build a network of systems of care strategists. Training can take place over 2 full days or over a longer period organized around 10 modules:

  1. Purpose and Organization of Primer Hands On—Child Welfare
  2. Context: System-Building Definitions, History, Values, Principles, and Characteristics
  3. Process and Structure in System Building
  4. Cross-Cutting, Nonnegotiable Characteristics: Family/Youth Partnership and Cultural/Linguistic Competence
  5. Planning, Governance, and System Management
  6. Outreach and Engagement, Organized Pathways to Service/Supports; Screening, Assessment, and Evaluation; and Service/Support Planning
  7. Service Array and Financing
  8. Provider Network, Natural Supports; Purchasing and Contracting
  9. Care Management, Utilization, and Quality Management
  10. Discussion of Other Functions (e.g., Human Resource Development, External and Internal Communication, Training and Technical Assistance, Listserv)

Flexibility in the curriculum allows jurisdictions to draw on the materials to meet their specific needs. For instance, a jurisdiction may use a portion of the curriculum to develop a child welfare system of care work plan for addressing a specific population's needs. States and Tribes interested in building their capacity to use systems of care may also access training and technical assistance from the Children's Bureau Training and Technical Assistance Network by first contacting their Regional Office for approval.

The curriculum was written by Sheila A. Pires, in partnership with Katherine J. Lazear and Lisa Conlan, and sponsored by the NRCOI, University of Southern Maine, in partnership with the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health, Georgetown University, and the National System of Care Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center, ICF International, with funding from the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Primer Hands On—Child Welfare is available on the NRCOI website: