Family-centered practice is a way of working with families, both formally and informally, across service systems to enhance their capacity to care for and protect their children. It focuses on children's safety and needs within the context of their families and communities and builds on families' strengths to achieve optimal outcomes. Families are defined broadly to include birth, blended, kinship, and foster and adoptive families.
This section addresses key elements of family-centered practice and provides overarching strategies for family-centered casework practice across child welfare service systems that focus on strengths, engage families and involve them in decision-making, advocate for improving families' conditions, and engage communities to support families. Strategies for creating a family-centered agency culture are also addressed.
Philosophy and key elements of family-centered practice
Presents the underlying values and principles of family-centered practice, as well as key elements of providing family-centered services.
Family-centered practice across the service continuum
Describes how a family-centered approach can be used across the child welfare service continuum—from preventing and responding to child maltreatment and supporting and preserving families to out-of-home care, permanency, and adoption.
Focuses on understanding, engaging, and partnering with families, including children, youth, and fathers and paternal family members, in child welfare services.
Family-centered casework practice
Offers resources and information about a family-centered approach to casework practice that focus on assessment, case planning and management, working with and advocating for families, providing culturally competent services, and training.
Family group decision-making
Provides resources and information about a participatory approach to decision-making in which family members are brought together with a facilitator to make decisions about how to best care for their children and develop a plan for services.
Engaging communities to support families
Explores how to engage community members to support children, youth, and families.
Creating a family-centered agency culture
Discusses system reforms and other efforts to create a family-centered agency culture.