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October 2018Vol. 19, No. 82020: Building Communities of Hope

Casey Family Programs launched the nationwide initiative 2020: Building Communities of Hope to improve the safety and success of children and their families and ultimately prevent entry into foster care.

2020: Building Communities of Hope is based on four core principles:

  • Empower local leaders to stand at the helm of efforts to work with and strengthen families and communities to improve their outcomes
  • Improve the utilization of data to drive decision-making and increase the capacity of communities to support families in need
  • Change federal, state, tribal, and local funding structures to better support more effective investments in sustainable change, improve outcomes, and restore hope
  • Forge effective partnerships between the philanthropic and business communities and federal, state, tribal, and local governments to support long-lasting improvements for children and families

This initiative focuses on the following goals:

  • Safely reduce the need for foster care by 50 percent by the year 2020 through partnerships with child welfare systems, families, policymakers, courts, and tribes to promote practices and policies that strengthen family resilience
  • Demonstrate how every child can have a safe and permanent family by improving foster care and related services
  • Support more effective investments in children and families by contributing nonpartisan information, data, and resources that will help public officials make informed, effective decisions for families
  • Encourage community collaboration to improve the long-term positive outcomes of children and their families

The signature report on the initiative, The Evolution of Hope, details efforts in Gainesville, FL, and Johnson County, KY, to implement the initiative's ideals. Gainesville communities collaborated with Partnership for Strong Families—a community-based care lead agency serving Alachua County—and Casey Family Programs to open resource centers offering support and primary prevention services, such as parenting classes and job skills training, to families living in areas with historically high rates of verified child abuse and neglect. Data from 2009 to 2015 show promising results, with a 14-percent decrease in verified child abuse and neglect in Gainesville communities as a result of the services provided by these resource centers.

In Johnson County (KY), the Department of Community Based Services partnered with Casey Family Programs to implement the Johnson County Community of Hope, which brings together social services agencies, the judicial system, community volunteers, mental health services agencies, substance use treatment agencies, public schools, the local library, and the business community. The goal of this initiative is to build stronger families and reduce the number of children in foster care and the number of child maltreatment cases. Since the start of the initiative, the number of children in foster care in Johnson County has dropped by about one-third.

The Evolution of Hope is available at
To read more about 2020: Building Communities of Hope, visit