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October 2021Vol. 22, No. 9How Concrete and Economic Supports Can Improve Child and Family Well-Being

Improving outcomes for children and families and preventing child maltreatment requires transformation across the entire human services system. A recent policy brief from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago explores how various human services agencies can provide concrete and economic supports to ensure families have what they need to keep children safe and healthy.

According to the brief, economic need and disparity is the root cause of child maltreatment, particularly neglect, for many families. The brief outlines key steps to understanding the relationship between economic risk and well-being outcomes and increasing the use of economic and concrete supports. The following are the four areas for system transformation outlined in the brief, as well as their core strategies:

  • Policy: Implement policies that stabilize rather than separate families, such as developing cross-agency integrated solutions or reframing the role of mandatory child maltreatment reporters from surveillance to support. 
  • Program: Expand programmatic capacity and create new pathways for families to access supports.
  • Data: Analyze data to understand what drives service needs and develop an analytic framework that measures economic risk. 
  • People: Authentically engage families and youth with lived experience, as well as communities and provider organizations, in system transformation efforts. 
For an indepth look at each of the four areas in which to leverage economic supports, see System Transformation to Support Child & Family Well-Being: The Central Role of Economic & Concrete Supports. In addition, Chapin Hall plans to publish a series of subsequent policy briefs exploring each of the four categories.