Supporting Families Across the Service Continuum
Family-centered practice focuses on working with the family unit to strengthen family capacity and ensure the best possible outcomes for children. The family-centered principles of family empowerment and participation, focusing on strengths, and community-based support can be employed in a variety of settings across the child welfare service continuum and in other service systems. Family-centered practices can prevent child abuse and neglect as well as provide children with safety, stability, and continued well-being.
Best Practices of Empowerment-Oriented Permanency Planning: Facilitating Change and Self-Development in Parents and Families: A Handbook for Caseworkers
Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (2000, 4th ed.)
Presents family-centered, empowerment-oriented practices for assisting families in permanency planning.
Can We Put Clothes on This Emperor? (PDF - 528 KB)
National Child Welfare Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice
Best Practice/Next Practice, 1(1), 2000
Principles of family-centered practice that can be applied throughout the child welfare service continuum, from prevention to permanency planning.
Caseworker Core Competencies (PDF - 269 KB)
Institute for Human Services, Ohio Child Welfare Training Program (2008)
Presents competencies addressing family-centered practice in child protective services.
Celebrating Change: A Schema for Family-Centered Practice in Residential Settings
Bass, Dosser, & Powell
Residential Treatment for Children and Youth, 17(3), 2000
A family-centered, strength-based helping process model was tested in two children's residential settings. Qualitative interviews supported the use of the six-step schema.
Children's Interests in a Familial Context: Poverty, Foster Care, and Adoption
Ohio State Law Journal, 60, 1999
Argues that family reunification should be the initial and primary goal of child welfare efforts when a child is at risk of abuse and neglect, and suggests that spending public welfare funds at the first indication of a child's risk might prevent escalation of abuse or neglect, avoiding the need for out-of-home placement.
Child Protective Services: Complex Challenges Require New Strategies (PDF - 497 KB)
General Accounting Office (1997)
Examines barriers to effective child protection services and alternative solutions for local and State systems, as well as ways the Federal Government can support their efforts by funding and disseminating research about community-based intervention programs.
Combining Child Welfare and Welfare Reform at a Local Level
Berns & Drake
Policy and Practice, 57(1), 1999
The El Paso County, Colorado, Department of Human Services applied a set of common principles to child welfare services and programs funded with a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant to create a flexible system of services that would promote prevention and family support. The principles emphasized family-focused, strengths-based community services.
CWLA Standards of Excellence for Kinship Care Services
Child Welfare League of America (2000)
Emphasis is placed on child-centered, family-focused practice methods. The standards explain the elements of kinship care service and identify the roles and responsibilities of the child welfare agency, the parents, and the kinship caregiver.
CWLA Standards of Excellence for Residential Services
Child Welfare League of America (2004, rev. ed.)
Identifies types of residential services and addresses the components of service and treatment, organizational structure of services, the service environment and necessary equipment, and community support. Emphasis is placed on family-centered strategies, permanency, and outcomes.
CWLA Standards of Excellence for Services for Abused and Neglected Children and Their Families
Child Welfare League of America (1999)
Guidelines addressing services to be provided, social work practice, the role of the community, cooperation with civil and criminal justice systems, program organization and administration, and child placement. Child abuse reporting, screening, assessment, case planning, roles and responsibilities of professionals and the community, family support services, and prevention are discussed.
Developing and Supporting a Continuum of Child Welfare Services (PDF - 163 KB)
Issue Note, 8(6), 2004
Identifies strategies for coordinating child welfare funding and services with the funding and services of other key State agencies to develop and support a more coherent and effective continuum of care for at-risk children and families.
Family-Centered Practice and Permanency (PDF - 4870 KB)
National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning (2005)
Highlights some of the ways family-centered practice has been incorporated into much of the training and technical assistance provided to States by the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning.
Family-Centered Services: Approaches and Effectiveness
McCroskey & Meezan
The Future of Children, 8(1), 1998
Examines current understanding of the most promising and effective means of serving families, highlighting the family-centered service approach. (PDF - 180 KB)
A Family Systems Paradigm for Legal Decision Making Affecting Child Custody
Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, 6(1), 1996
Explains the application of family systems theory to judicial decision-making about child custody and placement.
Focus on Families! How to Build and Support Family-Centered Practices in After School
Harvard Family Research Project & Build the Out-of-School Time Network (2006)
Guide to understanding how to engage families in afterschool programs. Why family engagement matters, strategies, case studies of promising efforts, and an evaluation tool for improving practice. (PDF - 837 KB)
Maintaining Family Ties: Inclusive Practice in Foster Care
Examines children's reactions to separation from their families and the responses of social workers, foster parents, and the placement agency.
Mental Health Services to Families in their Homes to Protect Children and Prevent Removal (PDF - 87 KB)
National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning (2009)
Presents best practice tips and identifies model programs regarding provision of mental health services to adults in order to preserve families that come in contact with the child welfare system.
Multiple Response System
North Carolina Division of Social Services
Describes the State's system reform effort, designed to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and their families through the integration of family-centered practice throughout all family support and child welfare services.
Quote of the Day: Family Centered Practice
International Child and Youth Care Network (1998)
A working definition of family-centered group care.
Social Work Practice with Children and Families: A Family Health Approach
Yuen (Ed.) (2005)
Describes family health social work practice, which focuses on nurturing the family unit, with several different populations. Community practice models are briefly reviewed.
Staff Attitudes Toward Family Involvement and Reunification in Residential Treatment Centers
Examines staff attitudes toward parental involvement and family reunification for children who live in residential treatment centers. Indicates that staff are committed to family involvement and believe that reunification is a realistic goal in many cases.
A Strengths Approach to Ethnically Sensitive Practice for Child Protective Service Workers
Leung, Cheung, & Stevenson
Child Welfare, 73(6), 1994
Suggests that a strengths approach, with guiding principles of family preservation, be used to empower child protective services caseworkers and enhance their cultural competence.