The child welfare system is most effective in improving outcomes when children, youth, and families with lived experience and diverse skill sets—as well as adjacent systems and community partners—have a role in contributing to its design and operation.

Authentically engaging people with lived expertise in decision-making, systems change, and strategic planning efforts is vital to providing equitable services to all children, youth, and families. These efforts should include people with lived expertise from diverse backgrounds, including those in rural communities, those with disabilities, families experiencing homelessness, incarcerated parents, and others. 

Adjacent system partners, such as the legal and judicial community and mental and behavioral health systems, can provide critical input about what is working well and where the child welfare system should focus to improve the experiences of children, youth, and families, in particular those from historically underserved or marginalized populations

Use these resources to learn more about engaging diverse individuals and organizations as partners in child welfare, including during the Child and Family Services Reviews,  in the development of Child and Family Services Plans and Annual Progress and Services Reports, and in other strategic planning efforts.

Adjust the filters below to refine your list of resources. Can’t find what you need in the filtered results? Try searching our Library catalog to access a large selection of peer-reviewed journal articles, evaluation reports, Children’s Bureau grant materials, research studies, and more.