- » Family Engagement
Series: Bulletins for Professionals|
Child Welfare Information Gateway. |
|Year Published: 2010|
Family engagement is the foundation of good casework practice that promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families in the child welfare system.
Family engagement is a family-centered and strengths-based approach to partnering with families in making decisions, setting goals, and achieving desired outcomes. It is founded on the principle of communicating openly and honestly with families in a way that supports disclosure of culture, family dynamics, and personal experiences in order to meet the individual needs of every family and every child. Engagement goes beyond simple involvement by "motivating and empowering families to recognize their own needs, strengths, and resources and to take an active role in working toward change" (Steib, 2004).
Key to building a productive caseworker-family relationship, family engagement is the foundation from which change occurs. It is important throughout the life of a child welfare case—from screening and assessment; through case planning and decision-making; to service delivery, case reviews, and ultimately case closure. To build on a family's resources and kinship connections, family engagement activities focus not only on the immediate family but also on the active involvement of both parents, extended family, and the family's natural support systems. Beyond specific cases, engaging families as key stakeholders must extend to policy development, service design, and evaluation.
Table of Contents
To help State child welfare managers improve family engagement across program areas, this brief offers information on:
For an indepth guide to the practice of family engagement, see Family Engagement: A Web-Based Practice Toolkit, developed by the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections.
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