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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