Involving communities in child welfare services and programs is a crucial first step in strengthening families. Engaging community members to take leadership roles and contribute to decision-making and program planning is vital to ensuring that child welfare system reform efforts will improve outcomes for the children and families being served. The following resources provide information on engaging communities in systems change and strategies for promoting shared leadership, including State and local examples.
Community Implementation Guide: A Framework for Community Action
Morgan & Martin (2004)
Describes the Six-I Community Action Model to advance child welfare priorities at a local level, including information on the five universal needs of children and the phases of community action. The guide offers sample tools and checklists.
Community Is Not a Place but a Relationship: Lessons for Organizational Development
Public Organization Review: A Global Journal, 5(4)
Draws on insights from a unique community-system partnership in restorative peacemaking circles to introduce the idea that organizations may need to be reinvented to truly support community engagement.
Community Partnerships Offer a Means for Changing Frontline Child Welfare Practice (PDF - 392 KB)
Discusses infrastructure elements necessary for child welfare agencies to move a community partnership vision from theory to practice.
Dynamics of Complex Community Change
Offers a series of webinars, conference materials, and concept papers to help communities see and influence change in complex social systems.
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2007)
Presents a series of reports that examines definitions, research, practices, and insights on the impact of social networks on family strengthening and community change.
Strong Communities for Children: A Community-Wide Approach to Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
Kimbrough-Melton & Campbell (2008)
Family and Community Health, 31(2)
Describes the implementation process of a public health initiative that blends research about the causes and correlates of child abuse and neglect with public health concepts of communitywide prevention, intervention, and family engagement.
All It Takes Is Leadership
Papin & Houck (2005)
Child Welfare, 84
Describes a comprehensive, communitywide effort to redesign and fundamentally improve the child welfare delivery system in Mesa County, Colorado.
Community Collaboration in New York City: Charting the Course for a Neighborhood-Based Safety Net: An Assessment of the New York City Administration for Children's Services' Neighborhood Networks Project (PDF - 188 KB)
White, Rosenbaum, Lerner, & Nyary (2005)
Discusses the effectiveness of an initiative in New York City to build an infrastructure for neighborhood networks to improve collaboration among organizations that work with children and families.
Child Welfare Services Redesign: The Future of California's Child Welfare Services: Final Report
Child Welfare Services Stakeholders Group (2003)
Presents a plan to redesign child welfare services in California, including information on the rationale, blueprint, and timeline. The report describes nine identified areas for improvement, such as child abuse prevention, family strengthening and preservation, youth transition to adulthood, interagency collaboration, and more.
Engaging Communities in Taking a Stand for Children and Families: Leadership Development and Strategic Planning in the Texas Child Welfare System (PDF - 3,390 KB)
Casey Family Programs & Texas Child Protective Services (2007)
Discusses the disproportionate number of minority children in the child welfare system in Texas and the development and implementation of change strategies that focus on data-driven planning, community engagement, and cultural competency training.
Getting the Most Out of CSA: A Guide to Hampton, VA Best Practices (PDF - 809 KB)
Outlines the steps taken by the Hampton Department of Social Services to build community-based services and reduce reliance on residential care for high-risk youth and their families.
West Virginia System of Care: Community Conversations: System of Care Readiness Activities, Indicators, and Recommendations, July 2006–June 2007 (PDF - 196 KB)
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (2008)
Reviews strategies used in West Virginia to share information with communities on their systems of care initiative and gather community stakeholder feedback on systems change efforts.