Children do best in their families. Child welfare professionals’ authentic engagement and partnership with parents should be based on meeting them where they are and recognizing their strengths and resilience. Parents should be involved in case planning and decision-making, including in determining which services and supports they need to build on their strengths, reduce risk factors, and achieve their goals. Connecting parents to service providers and tailored resources and supports that complement their strengths and goals can help children stay in their home safely.
When children must enter out-of-home care due to safety concerns in their homes, child welfare agencies should engage members of a child's family, such as grandparents or fictive kin, to develop a deeper pool of potential caregivers and maintain family connections. Caregivers will need the support of the child welfare agency to navigate the child welfare and adjacent systems, access services for the children in their care, and maintain their own well-being.
By following the lead of parents and caregivers, helping them harness their strengths more effectively, and increasing engagement with them, child welfare professionals can cultivate a supportive family environment where all members thrive.
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Engaging fathers and paternal family members is essential to child welfare practice and can lead to improved outcomes for children, youth, and families.
Family Engagement: Partnering With Families to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes
Find information on the foundational elements of the family engagement approach, followed by strategies and promising practices for implementing it for frontline caseworkers who directly engage families to promote safety, permanency, and well-being.
Strategies for Authentic Integration of Family and Youth Voice in Child Welfare
Explore a tip sheet and other resources relating to authentically engaging families and youth as partners at the child welfare system and agency levels. The resources provide child welfare professionals with tips, strategies, and practice examples.
Family First Prevention Services Act: Implementing the Provisions That Support Kinship Families
Find guidance for child welfare professionals on how to use the Family First Prevention Services Act to support kinship families, and learn to authentically engage and consult kinship caregivers, youth, birth parents, and others on reform efforts.
Five Ways to Help Kin Caregivers Now
Find information on how kin caregivers don’t always receive the level of support, financial or otherwise, that they need, and find a checklist of recommendations for child welfare professionals and others on how to better support kin caregivers.
Working With Kinship Caregivers
Learn about the benefits of kinship care and how child welfare professionals can promote it by providing kinship caregivers with information, referrals, and support services to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children in their care.
The Path to Racial Equity in Child Welfare: Valuing Family and Community
Learn about racial disproportionality and disparities in child welfare, and read about policy reforms to promote racial equity, including enhanced child abuse prevention strategies that halt unnecessary separations of children from their parents.
How Can Child Protection Agencies Authentically Engage With Parents?
Discover a question-and-answer session with a professional from the Washington State Office of Public Defense and a birth parent and mentor from Morrison Child and Family Services in Oregon on how child welfare agencies can better engage parents.
Engaging Youth and Caregivers in Developing Support Services
Find information on the importance of meaningful engagement with birth parents, adoptive parents, and kinship families and explore tips on how to engage parents, caregivers, and youth to work collaboratively to meet the specific needs of the family.