Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

July/August 2021Vol. 22, No. 7How Can Child Welfare Systems Support Families in Rural Communities?

Sometimes traditional or evidence-based child welfare strategies developed for urban areas are not suitable for rural communities. A larger geographical spread and greater travel time, higher rates of child poverty, limited infrastructure, and staffing difficulties pose challenges to child welfare systems in rural areas. However, these areas also have features that can mitigate some of the challenges-if leveraged properly. This brief from Casey Family Programs examines how the strengths of rural communities, such as having strong networks of local and community supports, combined with flexible economic support can be utilized to create unique and effective solutions that enhance family and community well-being and protect children. 

The article highlights the following key strengths-based strategies that have been successful in supporting rural and tribal communities:
  • Make culture change specific, measurable, and mandatory.
  • Authentically embrace the assets of rural communities.
  • Take a social-ecological approach.
  • Attend to the importance of relationships.
  • Combine jurisdictional resources in creative ways.
  • Partner with the community-based providers to maximize resources.
  • Understand the benefits and challenges of virtual communication.