Families often come to the attention of child welfare with simultaneously occurring risk factors, including the following types:
- Parent and child characteristics (e.g., behavioral or substance use challenges, age)
- Family factors (e.g., size, unemployment, domestic violence)
- Community and environmental conditions (e.g., poverty, presence of violence)
Co-occurring risk factors interact, putting children at greater risk of maltreatment. Examining the multiple risk factors that caregivers experience, how they interact, and their origins through an unbiased, culturally sensitive lens can reduce stereotyping and help connect families with tailored services.
It is important to work with families to prioritize their needs, including taking care of basic necessities and identifying a family's strengths and the ways they show resilience when faced with adversity. Focusing on those strengths can help reduce risk and improve their outcomes.
Family-led case plans allow families to outline their needs and identify which services may benefit them. Partnering with families to develop customized case plans creates a sense of ownership and increases buy-in.
Use these resources to learn more about co-occurring risk factors. Find strategies to partner with families to create case plans that align with their unique needs and goals.
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Protective Factors Approaches in Child Welfare
Find an overview of protective factors approaches to prevent child abuse and neglect and the concepts of protective and risk factors. In this brief, also discover ways to build protective capacities to help lower the risk of child abuse and neglect.
Working With Family Strengths and Resilience
Explore how following Indigenous ways helps families remain resilient and find information on trauma-informed strategies that can help Tribal child welfare professionals and others recognize and build on family culture, strengths, and resilience.
Building Partnerships to Support Stable Housing for Child Welfare-Involved Families and Youth
Review affordable housing and homelessness services and how professionals can collaborate with those systems to help families. The publication also shares information to help readers understand the needs of child welfare-involved families.
Separating Poverty From Neglect in Child Welfare
Explore the overlap among families experiencing poverty and those reported to the child welfare system for neglect, the societal context within which poverty and neglect exist, and strategies for preventing and addressing both poverty and neglect.
Parental Substance Use: A Primer for Child Welfare Professionals
Review substance use disorders (SUDs), how parental substance use affects families, how child welfare professionals can support families and how collaboration between child welfare professionals and SUD treatment providers helps to serve families.
Child Welfare Practice to Address Racial Disproportionality and Disparity
Explore factors that contribute to racial and ethnic disproportionality and disparity in the child welfare system. The publication also outlines strategies to assist professionals with addressing these issues and decision-making along the continuum.