Family-centered practice focuses on working with the family unit to strengthen family capacity and ensure the best possible outcomes for children. The family-centered principles of family empowerment and participation, focusing on strengths, and community-based support can be used in a variety of settings across child welfare and in other service systems. Family-centered practices can prevent child abuse and neglect as well as provide children with safety, stability, and continued well-being.
These resources address and provide examples of how a family-centered approach can be used across the child welfare service continuum.
- Preventing child abuse and neglect
- Responding to child abuse and neglect
- Supporting and preserving families
- Out-of-home care
Family-centered practice in preventing child abuse and neglect
Family Development Matrix
Institute for Community Collaborative Studies & Strategies
Provides an integrated family assessment tool for case management and outcomes evaluation in county-based service networks and Tribal programs in California.
Family Spirit Program
Johns Hopkins University (2017)
Provides an overview of the Family Spirit Program, an evidence-based and culturally tailored home visiting intervention delivered by Native American paraprofessionals as a core strategy to support young, vulnerable Native parents.
Protective Factors Survey
FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention
Offers two self-administered surveys for use with caregivers receiving child maltreatment prevention services, measuring protective factors in five areas: family functioning/resiliency, social support, concrete support, nurturing and attachment, and knowledge of parenting/child development. The website includes the tool and a user manual.
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Describes an initiative to prevent child abuse and neglect by helping child welfare and early education professionals enhance protective factors in children, youth, and families.
Family-centered practice in responding to child abuse and neglect
Differential Response Program
Colorado Department of Human Services (2019)
Details how family and community partnerships have created the paradigm shift in the response to child maltreatment.
Family Assessment Response: Another Road to Safety
New York State Office of Children and Family Services
Provides information on an alternative approach to reports of child maltreatment that focuses on family engagement and identifying formal and informal supports to improve child safety.
Family-centered practice in supporting and preserving families
A Core Elements Approach to Child Welfare In-Home Services (PDF - 180 KB)
National Resource Center for In-Home Services (2014)
Details a strengths-based, family-centered approach in assessment, case planning, and decision-making.
Family Centered Treatment (FCT)
The California Evidenced-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (2018)
Details a family-centered program for families facing disruption or dissolution, including the program goals, program delivery, necessary education and training, and implementation information.
Family Strengthening Materials
Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS) (2018)
Lists BRYCS resources to strengthen and preserve families.
Investing in Hope: Signature Report 2016
Casey Family Programs (2016)
Explores the promising approaches being developed to keep children safe, make families strong, and help communities become more supportive. The report also describes how families are improving their life outcomes through the support of their communities and how new interventions are integrating the science of how abuse and neglect affect young minds and bodies.
What Is Family Support?
Allegheny County Family Support (2013)
Provides information and resources on a framework that focuses on partnering with families to improve children and family well-being.
Wraparound Basics or What Is Wraparound: An Introduction
National Wraparound Initiative (2019)
Provides information and materials on the comprehensive, youth- and family-driven approach to working with families of children with serious mental health or behavioral challenges.
Family-centered practice in out-of-home care
Family to Family
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Offers tools and materials from an initiative in which States and communities are developing family-centered, neighborhood-based systems of foster care to promote permanence for all children.
Foster Care: A Path to Reunification Podcast (Part 1) [Podcast]
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau (2019)
Shares the work of the neighborhood-based organization, Center for Family Life, which aims to stabilize families and ensure that children and youth in care can remain in their community, continue to attend their current school, and maintain family and social connections.
Partners in Planning – When Parents Are Supported to Participate in Planning, We Can Make Better Decisions
Examines the importance of parents' perspectives and parent involvement in case planning. The article presents a personal story from a foster care agency worker about her experience working directly with families.
What Is QPI?
Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) (2017)
Provides information and resources on the approach to improving child well-being that focuses on developing effective parenting. The approach is used in 75 jurisdictions across 10 States.
Family-centered practice in permanency
The Child and Family Practice Model Program Manual (CAPP)
California Partners for Permanency (2016)
Includes three manuals detailing the implementation of the Child and Family Practice Model (CFPM), created by the California Partners for Permanency through a Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII) grant. Together, the three PII program manuals help to build a base of replicable interventions that can serve the complex needs of diverse communities of children and families.
Pathways to Permanence 2: Parenting Children Who Have Experienced Trauma and Loss (PDF - 487 KB)
Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation (2017)
Describes a program in Texas that focuses on supporting parents and caregivers of children who have experienced trauma in order to achieve long-term, stable permanence.
Family-centered practice in adoption
Harmony Family Center (2019)
Describes two evidence-based, family-centered programs that support families during every stage of adoption and guardianship.
Triple P in a Nutshell
Describes the family-centered Triple P–Positive Parenting Program, including the program’s goals, benefits, and core values.