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March 2011Vol. 12, No. 2Guidance for Effective Child Welfare Leadership

Effective leadership places child welfare agencies in a better position to achieve positive outcomes for the children, youth, and families they serve. An online publication, Leadership Guidance, lays the groundwork for the development of effective leadership by discussing necessary strategies, key processes, and operations. Developed as part of American Public Human Services Association's Positioning Public Child Welfare Guidance (PPCWG), the publication helps organizations develop a leadership style that sets the direction for the agency; defines clearly and explicitly how the organization operates day-to-day; and aligns key processes, systems, and capacities in support of a clearly defined vision and positive team culture.

Leadership Guidance is addressed specifically to public child welfare directors and their immediate executive teams. It offers guidance on where leaders and their teams should spend their time and energy, how to assess and align critical key processes to support the strategy of the agency, and how leadership is embedded and experienced throughout an agency. Topics addressed by the publication include:

  • The importance of leadership and how it affects outcomes for children, youth, and families
  • The environment or context that leaders must understand and respond to in order to be effective
  • The major, overarching functions of leadership and the work involved
  • The critical leadership considerations in addressing the issue of disparities in treatment and outcomes of children of color
  • The key processes needed to support and reinforce the agency's vision and culture
  • The demonstration of leadership throughout the organization

Leadership Guidance is available for download on the PPCWG website: (239 KB)

Leadership Guidance is one publication among an array of resources available from the PPCWG website, as part of the Positioning Public Child Welfare Initiative. The initiative was begun in January 2007 by the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators with the collaboration and support of Casey Family Programs. The initiative was established to develop guidance for the child welfare field in the areas of strategy, leadership, practice models, communications, administrative practices, workforce, disparity and disproportionality, strategic partnerships, information management, change management, research, technology, public policy, and budget and finance.

For more leadership resources from PPCCWG, visit the website: