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 2024Vol. 25, No. 6Brief Focuses on Incorporating Lived Experience Into Child Welfare Capacity Building

A brief from the Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative, Incorporating Lived Experience Into Child Welfare Capacity Building, outlines the Collaborative's efforts to support child welfare jurisdictions in integrating the voices of those directly affected by the child welfare system into practice and evaluation. The Collaborative consists of three Capacity Building Centers that provide technical assistance to states, courts, and tribes as they seek to improve child welfare policies and practices by engaging individuals with lived experience (LE) in system reform initiatives.

The brief discusses the Collaborative's approach, which involves qualitative methods like literature reviews and facilitated discussions to understand challenges and successful strategies for incorporating LE into capacity-building efforts. It emphasizes the importance of developing clear definitions and frameworks for LE to ensure meaningful involvement across different jurisdictions and how incorporating LE into child welfare initiatives can lead to better family engagement, more effective services, and improved outcomes for children and families.

Key initiatives highlighted include the development of learning experiences and events such as the Family Empowerment and Leadership Academy and the Child Welfare Virtual Expos. These programs are designed to promote authentic engagement and build capacity at the leadership and caseworker levels to collaborate with and empower individuals with LE through their participation in planning and decision-making processes. The brief also provides an overview of several of the tailored services provided by Capacity Building Centers to different jurisdictions.

Jurisdictions looking to incorporate LE into their child welfare projects will find recommendations on opportunities to do so and how to advocate for a collaborative approach that values the wisdom and perspectives of those with firsthand experience in the system.

Read the full brief for more detailed information, including available products and frameworks, and to gain a deeper understanding of the different Capacity Building Centers.