Family-centered services are based upon the belief that the best place for children to grow up is in a family and the most effective way to ensure children's safety, permanency, and well-being is to provide services that engage, involve, strengthen, and support families.
Key components of family-centered practice include:
- Working with the family unit to ensure the safety and well-being of all family members
- Strengthening the capacity of families to function effectively by focusing on solutions
- Engaging, empowering, and partnering with families throughout the decision- and goal-making processes
- Developing a relationship between parents and service providers characterized by mutual trust, respect, honesty, and open communication
- Providing individualized, culturally responsive, flexible, and relevant services for each family
- Linking families with collaborative, comprehensive, culturally relevant, community-based networks of supports and services
The following resources address the underlying values and principles of family-centered practice as well as key elements of providing family-centered services. Resources include State and local examples.
Applying the Principles of Family-Driven Care at the Community Level (PDF - 316 KB)
Mental Health Transformation Alliance (2015)
Describes guiding principles of family-driven care and provides examples of ways to implement family-driven practices at the community level.
Family Engagement: Partnering With Families to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes
Key Lessons for Implementing a Family-Centered Approach (PDF - 3,518 KB)
Children and Family Futures (2017)
Highlights the Prevention and Family Recovery initiative, which strives to build the capacity of family drug courts and their partner agencies to provide a more comprehensive, family-centered approach grounded in cross-systems collaboration and evidence-based practices that strengthen the parent-child relationship and improve family well-being.
The Power of the Parents’ Voice
Child Welfare Information Gateway (2018)
Features parents’ stories to better understand the impact child welfare services can have on families and help agencies shift to a family-centered approach.
What Is Family Centered Practice?
National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice (2019)
Explains the concept of family-centered practice, which is based on the belief that the best way to meet a person's needs is within their families and that the most effective way to ensure safety, permanency, and well-being is to provide services that engage, involve, strengthen, and support families.
Kansas Intensive Permanency Project (KIPP) Program Manual
University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, Kansas Department of Children and Families, KVC Kansas, & Saint Francis Community Services (2016)
Examines KIPP's implementation process by sharing reflections, lessons learned, and practical implementation experiences from the family-centered program.
Quality Contacts With Children and Families [Webinar] (PDF - 3,635 KB)
Tennessee Department of Children's Services (2017)
Provides a training for caseworkers on how to best conduct family-centered quality contacts with families and children in Tennessee. The presentation provides an overview of the components and characteristics of a quality contact, three phases of a contact, the impact of increasing quality of contacts with families, and more.
The Values of Family-Centered Child Welfare (PDF - 74 KB)
Kansas Department for Children and Families (2017)
Explores the recent emphasis on family-centered services in child welfare and the values behind this work.