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June 2017Vol. 18, No. 4Upcoming Second Annual Child Welfare Virtual Expo

On July 13, 2017, the Capacity Building Center for States, a service of the Children’s Bureau, will host its second annual Child Welfare Virtual Expo featuring the theme "Strengthening Assessment and Decision-Making for Improved Outcomes." This year’s virtual expo provides a cutting-edge online platform with engaging presentations and opportunities to reflect on and share assessment and decision-making strategies aimed at improving safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children and families.

Child welfare workers conduct assessments and practice decision-making in the midst of strong family emotions, high expectations for accountability, limited time and resources, and limited access to information or services. This environment, along with the highly visible nature of child welfare decisions, makes consistent and effective decision-making challenging. Standardized assessment tools are frequently used to provide structure to the assessment and decision-making process, but it is unclear whether these fully capture the individualized needs of families or connect families to the most appropriate services.

The virtual expo is designed to support agencies’ capacity to better understand and overcome these challenges with the ultimate goal of promoting safety, permanency, and well-being. In order to achieve this, presentation sessions will highlight strategies and facilitate engagement on the following:

  • Developing a more comprehensive assessment process that can lead to a deeper understanding of family conditions
  • Collaborating across systems and with families so that assessment findings can be incorporated into more effective decision-making and offer additional insights for families dealing with co-occurring issues (e.g., substances use, mental health disorders, domestic violence)
  • Using data to inform assessment and decision-making
  • Integrating protective factors and capacities in safety assessment and planning

Participants can take part in a variety of activities, some of which are provided through dual-tracked sessions (one track tailored for administrators and managers and another tailored to frontline staff). 

These activities include the following:

  • Dynamic presentations and discussions with national experts
  • Opportunities for virtual reflection and learning activities that will help connect concept to practice
  • Opportunities to meet, share information, and establish connections with peers from across the country
  • A virtual exhibit hall showcasing relevant resources and tools, which participants can download into their own virtual briefcases
  • Interactive features including games and friendly competitions

Get more information about the Child Welfare Virtual Expo 2017 at or to register, go to;F:QS!10100&ShowKey=38433&