Obtaining the perspectives of families by involving them in evaluating child welfare services and programs is a critical first step in identifying how services are affecting families. Empowering families to take leadership roles and contribute to decision-making and program planning is key to ensuring that child welfare system reform efforts will ultimately improve outcomes for the children and families being served. The following resources provide information on engaging families in systems change and strategies for promoting shared leadership, including State and local examples.
CW360°: A Comprehensive Look at a Prevalent Child Welfare Issue, Special Issue: Child Welfare Reform (PDF - 2,417 KB)
Barry, Bertram, & LaLiberte (Eds.) (2016), Spring Issue
University of Minnesota, Center for the Advanced Studies in Child Welfare
Focuses on the complexities of child welfare reform, ongoing reform efforts, and the need to include frontline staff, families, and communities in the process.
Family Empowerment E-Learning
Capacity Building Center for States (2016)
Provides child welfare professionals with an overview of the Family Empowerment Leadership Academy curriculum and discusses key learning points in each of the curriculum's units to help child welfare professionals to better collaborate with families. A free login is required to access this information.
FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention
Provides resources and examples of programs and approaches that promote parent support, education, engagement, and leadership, including a guidebook (PDF - 1,567 KB) on building effective parent and practitioner collaboration.
The Power of the Parent's Voice
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau (2018)
Provides guidance for agencies on identifying ways to engage parents and involve them in decision-making at all levels of child welfare involvement as well as lessons learned from practitioners.
California Parent Leadership Team
Presents informational videos on a parent team organized to improve California prevention and treatment polices, programs, and systems to ensure better outcomes for children and families. Members have experience with family-serving systems and have successfully advocated, implemented, and evaluated programs and guided practice strategies, policy, and systems change.
Child Welfare Organizing Project
Encourages public child welfare reform in New York City through increased, meaningful parent involvement in service and policy planning.
NC Works to Engage, Consult, and Respond to Families on a Systematic Level
North Carolina Division of Social Services and the Family and Children's Resource Program (2016)
Describes the creation of North Carolina's Child Welfare Family Advisory Council, which helps guide policy and practice and provide ongoing consultation around child welfare goals in the State.
North Carolina Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families
Provides a forum for collaboration, advocacy, and action among families, family-serving agencies, and community partners that work to develop recommendations for coordination of services and produce better outcomes for children in North Carolina.
Iowa Department of Human Services
Describes the State of Iowa's Parent Partners program, in which parents collaborate with social workers and providers to meet the needs of families, assist in policy and program development, change perceptions in communities, and facilitate trainings, and learning opportunities.