The following resources describe system reform theories and how they can be used to improve child welfare practices.
Applying a Theory of Change Approach to Interagency Planning in Child Mental Health
Hernandez & Hodges
American Journal of Community Psychology, 38(3-4), 2006
Describes a theory of change approach and logic model used by public agency planners in Contra Costa County, California, to link community outcomes with principles that underlie community planning efforts.
Breakthrough Series Collaborative
Casey Family Programs
Presents details from a system reform initiative in which teams test ideas, strategies, and tools on a small scale to address a particular topic in child welfare, then introduce the most successful and measurable strategies to the larger community. Topics addressed include recruitment and retention of resource families, differential response, kinship care, disproportionality, and more.
How, and Why, Does Wraparound Work: A Theory of Change (PDF - 720 KB)
National Wraparound Initiative (2008)
Discusses the characteristics of the wraparound process and the main theoretical routes or mechanisms of change.
Intentional Innovation: How Getting More Systematic About Innovation Could Improve Philanthropy and Increase Social Impact
Kasper & Clohesy (2008)
Offers highlights of the best innovation theories and practices and key ideas for how innovation can become a more consistent and reliable commodity for social good.
Mapping Change: Using a Theory of Change to Guide Planning and Evaluation
Explains why grant makers use theories of change to guide their work, establish common language, and develop strong action plans and describes how a theory of change sets the stage for evaluation by clarifying goals, strategies, and milestones.
Monitoring Child Welfare Programs: Performance Improvement in a CQI Context
Outlines how to begin a continuous quality improvement process and provides information on which key elements are involved in achieving safety, permanency, and well-being for children. It includes a discussion on the importance of addressing the theory of change in the CQI process.
National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) Technical Assistance Model for Long-Term Systems Change (PDF - 789 KB)
Kahn, Hurth, Diefendorf, Kasprzak, Lucas, & Ringwalt (2009)
Outlines the critical characteristics and components of State systems change plans required to improve practices in early intervention programs and special education services systems and, ultimately, improve outcomes for the children and families they serve.
Reforming the Child Welfare System: Competing Paradigms of Change
Children and Youth Services Review, 27, 2005
Identifies four traditions of social planning and social change and relates them to different approaches to reforming child welfare. It discusses the importance of finding ways to blend perspectives into a unified and systemic approach to reform.
Theory of Change Logic Models: Tools for Sustaining Community Created Systems of Care
Department of Child and Family Studies, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (2008)
Explains how theory-based frameworks can guide changes in services to children and families, and includes links to four systems of care communities using logic models.