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February 2011Vol. 12, No. 1Center Offers Systems of Care Resources and TA

The Children's Bureau National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center for Systems of Care (the Center) was established in 2003 to support grant communities in their efforts to design and build systems of care that will improve safety, permanency, and well-being for families and children. Since its inception, the Center has supported the development, implementation, and sustainability of systems of care efforts and conducted a national cross-site evaluation of the implementation of systems of care in the demonstration sites.

To support knowledge transfer and capacity building within child welfare systems, Center staff developed products that integrate evaluation findings and other information to support wide understanding and implementation of systems of care. The following products reflect the experiences, challenges, and lessons learned of the participating Systems of Care communities. They offer administrators, program managers, and policymakers valuable information and guidance to inform change efforts and to improve strategic planning, infrastructure development, and implementation of principles and practices that strengthen the child welfare system.

Evaluation Reports document the findings from the national cross-site evaluation and cover such topics as systems and organizational changes resulting from the initiative's implementation, the critical role of leadership, and meaningful family involvement.

  • Improving Child Welfare Through Systems of Care: Overview of the National Cross-Site Evaluation synthesizes key evaluation findings related to Systems of Care implementation processes and outcomes and presents lessons learned for other communities planning and implementing systems of care.
  • Systems and Organizational Change Resulting From the Implementation of Systems of Care examines grant activities related to collaborative partnerships and integration of systems of care principles into policies and procedures and describes the corresponding impact on systems and organizational change, child welfare practices, and outcomes for children and families.
  • Systems of Care Case Studies provides an in-depth look at the strategies and approaches used by two grant sites—Contra Costa, California, and North Carolina—to develop a principle-guided approach to child welfare service delivery.
  • Leadership in the Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care Initiative explores the critical role of leadership and identifies strategies that Systems of Care leaders used to bring about change.
  • Family Involvement in the Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care Initiative discusses how communities engaged families as partners in developing case plans, developed peer-to-peer support programs, and empowered families to participate in decision-making and systems change activities.

Infrastructure Toolkits offer practical activities, guiding questions, and tips and products from the field for the planning and development of fundamental components that lay the groundwork for implementation. Customizable, online toolkits address the following infrastructure topics:

  • Strategic Planning—gathering information, developing a shared vision, and formulating a plan to guide activities
  • Governance—building a collaborative body of agencies and stakeholder groups for decision-making
  • System Management—overseeing day-to-day operations and staffing that promote the vision and mission
  • Coordination of Services and Service Array—integrating services and supports to address holistic needs of families
  • Communication—raising awareness and informing stakeholders to generate ongoing support for an initiative
  • Policy—developing interagency agreements, statutes, regulations, and other mechanisms to institutionalize practices
  • Finance—identifying and applying financial strategies to support sustainable services
  • Continuous Quality Improvement—using data to support improvements in agency processes and procedures
  • Training, Development, and Human Resources—hiring staff, developing performance systems, and creating a continuous learning environment

To access the Center's resources, visit: