September 2021Vol. 22, No. 8Piloting Continuous Learning to Engage Fathers and Paternal Relatives in Child Welfare
When child welfare agencies successfully engage fathers in their children's cases, the agencies create a connection that can also improve children's outcomes.
The Fathers and Continuous Learning in Child Welfare (FCL) project used a methodology known as the Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC) to improve placement stability and permanency outcomes for children by engaging their fathers and paternal relatives. A BSC is a continuous-learning methodology developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement that is used to test and spread promising practices to help organizations improve in a focused topic area.
Six improvement teams representing five state or county child welfare agencies participated in the BSC. Throughout this BSC, each team identified, implemented, and studied a unique group of strategies to engage fathers and paternal relatives. Teams developed processes to collect, organize, and report data to gauge whether the engagement strategies were producing improvements on specified metrics. This pilot study report describes insights into the implementation of a BSC and potential strategies for increasing father and paternal relative engagement in child welfare.
After engaging in the BSC, improvement team members considered themselves more knowledgeable and identified cultural shifts and changes in their own behavior and the behavior of others in engaging fathers and paternal relatives. These changes were fueled by dedicating protected time and effort toward the BSC and staying deeply committed to engaging fathers and paternal relatives.