Social and community context is a social determinant of health, or a nonmedical factor that impacts the health and well-being of children, youth, and families. Social and community context refers to the impacts of relationships and the settings where people live, work, and interact with others. This includes interactions between people and connections with larger social, cultural, and other institutions.
When people are well-connected and supported by their communities, their health and well-being are positively impacted. In a child welfare context, strong social networks and communities can help families thrive and reduce the need for child welfare system involvement.
However, some interactions between individuals and within communities can create challenges. For example, living in areas without equitable access to services or experiencing discrimination can lead to disparities in health and well-being. An equitable child welfare system supports equitable access to the services and concrete supports families need to thrive before child welfare intervention becomes necessary.
Explore the following resources to learn about leveraging social and community supports to improve family health and well-being.
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How We Partner With the Community to Improve Service Options Podcast Series
Presents podcasts on how child welfare agencies are adjusting their culture to support the collaborative development of services that better meet the needs of the families and youth in the community.
Rural Child Welfare Practice
Read about the importance of understanding the concerns and needs of children and families in rural communities, their strengths, and the cultural sensitivity required as they work to achieve safety, permanency, and well-being for rural children.
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.
The Role of Social Support and Economic Condition in the Well-Being of American Indian and Alaska Native Children and Families
Find a research brief on the associations between poverty and parents’ perception of financial strain, the presence of social and community supports, and child and family well-being in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
Meeting the Informal and Formal Support Needs of Foster Caregivers
Learn about the challenges unique to foster families and how their specific needs can be better addressed by understanding their formal and informal support systems.
What is Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) (New title: What Is CBCAP?)
Provides information on Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) programs, legislation supporting the programs, why these programs were created, and answers to frequently asked questions.