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April 2010Vol. 11, No. 3Family Strengthening Programs Around the Country

A new report from the Center for the Study of Social Policy takes a broad look at the impact of the Strengthening Families initiative across the country as reflected in States' efforts to implement new strategies for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. In particular, A Look at Strengthening Families in the States examines the evolution of the family strengthening approach—from the establishment of an advisory committee and introduction of seven State pilot projects to the launch of the Strengthening Families National Network (SFNN), a forum for sharing and disseminating information among States, territories, and Tribes.

Based on the results of a 2009 structured study of Strengthening Families work, the report describes the progress of the initiative and its responsiveness to the needs of the child welfare field. Some of the key elements to successful implementation include:

  • Use of cross-systems planning for comprehensive early childhood services
  • Enhanced prevention approaches in many States
  • Dissemination of new knowledge and tools
  • Parents' engagement around protective factors and family strengthening

To support the continued improvement and expansion of the Strengthening Families initiative, the authors identify three critical approaches that need further growth and attention. They include:

  • Enhancing State-level implementation
  • Establishing more effective methods for evaluating impact
  • Working on a deeper implementation of programs and practices

Appendices offer detailed looks at the Strengthening Families efforts in Minnesota, Kansas, Georgia, and Washington.

A Look at Strengthening Families in the States is available on the Strengthening Families' website: (584 KB)