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July/August 2011Vol. 12, No. 6System of Care Family Engagement Strategies

The National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center for Child Welfare Systems of Care Grantees (NTAEC) has published an article on strategies and approaches child welfare agencies use to integrate meaningful family involvement into their service delivery systems. "New Roles for Families in Child Welfare: Strategies for Expanding Family Involvement Beyond the Case Level," by Erin Williamson and Aracelis Gray, is based on document reviews and interviews with 44 individuals from nine agencies that received grants as part of the Children's Bureau's Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care initiative. Grantees were interviewed about their family involvement planning and capacity-building activities.

Findings suggest that child welfare agencies primarily used human resource development to enhance family involvement. Specifically, they focused on three areas:

  • Program staffing
  • Family engagement
  • Agency buy-in

Recommendations include:

  • Training for both child welfare personnel and participating family members for capacity building
  • Mechanisms that allow a direct way for child welfare staff and participating family members to voice concerns and give constructive feedback
  • Hiring family members with child welfare experience as trained peer mentors
  • Dedicated resources to establish and sustain family involvement efforts and ensure full integration into the child welfare system

The authors call for further evaluation for enhancing family involvement, identifying and disseminating best practices, and building capacity for agencies to integrate family involvement in service delivery.

"New Roles for Families in Child Welfare: Strategies for Expanding Family Involvement Beyond the Case Level," was published in Children and Youth Services Reviews, Vol. 33, and is available for purchase online:  

Related Item

The Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health recently published Evidence-Based Practices/Practice-Based Evidence/Community-Defined Evidence Practices Currently Being Used by Systems of Care: A Snapshot of System of Care Communities Funded 2005–2009, which provides a table of programs in 32 States. (738 KB)