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June 2015Vol. 16, No. 5Site Visit: Nurturing the Resiliency in Wayne County Families

Using a Children's Bureau Family Connection grant, Homes for Black Children (HBC) developed and implemented the Nurturing the Resiliency in Wayne County Families: Rethinking the Family Decision-Making Model as Community-Centered Child and Family Work project (Resiliency Project). The focus of the project was to provide family group decision-making (FGDM) and other well-being services to the target population—African-American families at risk of having their children enter the foster care system or who have experienced recent reunification with their children. To develop and implement the project, HBC partnered with the Wayne County Department of Human Services (DHS), which was the primary referral source. DHS referred all Category IV1 cases to the Resiliency Project.

As a demonstration project, the Resiliency Project established a treatment group and a comparison group. All families referred to the Resiliency Project are assigned to a family resiliency coordinator and a parent advocate/mentor, and are offered the standard services provided by HBC. The treatment group is comprised of those families that chose to participate in the FGDM meeting process in addition to HBC's standard services. The comparison group is made up of those families who received the standard services from HBC but did not choose to participate in the FGDM meeting process.

Through the Resiliency Project, HBC offers a continuum of services and activities developed to assist families in strengthening child protective factors and decreasing stressors. It provides emotional and concrete supports, parent education, and assistance in creating/improving supportive social and familial connections. The project worked to improve child and family well-being through the use of four core strategies that support and build on the family's strengths:

  • FGDM—a process that includes a family meeting that brings family members together to build on family strengths in order to resolve issues, help assure child safety, and ultimately improve family well-being
  • Solution-based family counseling—individual and family counseling offered through HBC that engages family members in identifying successful coping skills and resources used in the past to help them resolve current challenges
  • Parent advocates/mentors—provide daily emotional support to participants and, through extensive research and networking, seek and generally find resources for families
  • Family well-being cluster—includes collaborative partners and providers committed to serving the families participating in the project, as well as services and cultural, educational, and recreational activities offered internally by HBC to participants and their families

The project aims to meet families where they are and assist them in improving communication, strengthening relationships, and moving toward self-sufficiency.

For more information, contact Jacquelynn Moffett, Project Director, at The full site visit report for this project will soon be available on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website at

The Nurturing the Resiliency in Wayne County Families: Rethinking the Family Decision-Making Model as Community-Centered Child and Family Work project is funded by the Children's Bureau (Award 90CF0029). This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from site visits made on behalf of the Children's Bureau.

1 Category IV cases are the families in which child abuse and/or neglect were unsubstantiated, but DHS found that the families were experiencing issues that would benefit from further intervention.