National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center for Systems of Care.
"If we ask people to look for deficits, they will usually find them, and their views of the situation will be colored by this. If we ask people to look for successes, they will usually find them, and their view of the situation will be colored by this." (Kral, 1989, p.32)
Among the strategies that are critical for increasing the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families involved with child welfare is tailoring services to unique needs by building upon strengths. As child welfare agency administrators and policy-makers continually strive to improve services and outcomes for children and families, establishing child welfare policies and practices that promote and facilitate an individualized, strengths-based approach is essential. Policy is crucial to sustaining strengths-based practices, because without it such practices may be inconsistently applied and diminish with staff turnover.
Table of Contents
- Defining an Individualized, Strengths-Based Approach
- Individualized, Strengths-Based Approaches in a Child Welfare Driven System of Care
- Challenges and Strategies in Following an Individualized, Strengths-Based Approach
- Implications for Administrators and Stakeholders
- Demonstration Sites, References, and Additional Resources
Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care
In 2003, the Children's Bureau funded nine demonstration grants to test the efficacy of a system of care approach to improving outcomes for children and families involved in the child welfare system and to address policy, practice, and cross-system collaboration issues raised by the Child and Family Services Reviews. Specifically, this approach is designed to improve the capacity of human service agencies to strengthen and support families involved in public child welfare through a set of six guiding principles:
- Interagency collaboration;
- Individualized strengths-based care;
- Cultural and linguistic competence;
- Child, youth, and family involvement;
- Community-based services, and;
A Closer Look is a series of short reports that spotlight issues addressed by public child welfare agencies and their partners in implementing systems of care approaches to improve services and outcomes for the children and families they serve. These reports draw on the experiences of nine communities participating in the Children's Bureau's Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care demonstration initiative, and summarize their challenges, promising practices, and lessons learned. The reports provide information communities nationwide can use in planning, implementing, and evaluating effective child welfare driven systems of care.
* The National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center wishes to thank the following family leaders and agency practitioners for their contributions to the development of this resource: Rebecca Huffman, Sharri Black, Aaron Bianco, Ed Cohen, and Lynn Usher. back