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July/August 2008Vol. 9, No. 6Strengths-Based Child Welfare Practices

A new issue brief describes strategies to improve outcomes for children and families by promoting and facilitating an individualized, strengths-based approach to child welfare practices and policies. "An Individualized, Strengths-Based Approach in Public Child Welfare Driven Systems of Care" is the second report in the series A Closer Look, which summarizes findings from the nine grantees participating in the Children's Bureau's Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care demonstration initiative.

According to the issue brief, the challenges to implementing an individualized, strengths-based approach include agency culture and characteristics of families involved with child protective services, staff turnover, time constraints, and lack of services and access to services. Learning from the experiences of the grantees, the report concludes that agencies can address these challenges by:

  • Offering consistent and ongoing staff training
  • Providing strengths-based supervision to caseworkers
  • Revising assessment tools to focus on child and family strengths
  • Improving interagency collaboration in order to increase availability and awareness of informal and community supports

The series is produced by the National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center for Systems of Care, which will release several more A Closer Look reports in the coming months. Visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway website for more information: