Engaging Communities to Support Families

Last updated: 10-04-2020

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Engaging Communities to Support Families

Family-centered practitioners view all family members, including maternal and paternal relatives, fictive kin, and informal helpers, as important resources and supports for the family. These practitioners are skilled in engaging informal and formal community resources. They involve them, as appropriate, in family assessment and case planning and in providing ongoing support to families before, during, and after services are ended by the formal child welfare agency and other community agencies. The following resources address how to engage community members to support children, youth, and families, including State and local examples.

Chapter 3: Using Protective Factors as a Framework for Your Community Partnership (PDF - 174 KB) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau; Child Welfare Information Gateway; & FRIENDS National Resource Center For Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (2019) In 2019 Prevention Resource Guide Provides strategies to help build community awareness and support for the development of broad-based, meaningful community partnerships.

Collaboration FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (2019)  Examines ways engaging with community organizations can help increase positive outcomes for children and families, reduce duplicate services, and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Community-Based Family Support: Exemplars With Implementation and Evaluation Strategies Casey Family Programs (2016) Focuses on the need for community-based initiatives and summarizes lessons learned from the design and implementation of current and past community-based support programs.

Community-Based Parent Support Programs Trivette & Dunst (2015) Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute Evaluates the efficacy of community-based parent support programs in building parenting capacity.

Quality Matters: Improving Caseworker Contacts with Children, Youth, and Families Capacity Building Center for States Discusses strategies for creating effective working relationships between child welfare caseworkers, parents, resource parents, and youth in care.

Strengthening Family Connections to Help Families Thrive U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (2019) Describes how families need support from their community when they fall on hard times and discusses Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention programs. The blog post highlights one such program, the McMains Children's Developmental Center, and explains the importance of protective factors to promote child well-being and prevent maltreatment.

Support Matters: Lessons from the Field on Services for Adoptive, Foster and Kinship Care Families (PDF - 1,454 KB)  AdoptUSKids (2015) Discusses the importance of effectively evaluating the needs of foster and kinship caregivers and partnering with community-based organizations.

Center for Family Life SCO Family of Services Provides information on community-based services for families living in the Sunset Park community in New York, including family counseling, school-based programs, youth and adult employment services, cooperative business development, an advocacy clinic, tax filing support, and other community services.

Community-Based Prevention Bring Up Nebraska Provides information on community collaborations to reduce entry into the child welfare system and increase community supports for children and families. 

Community Engagement and Public Awareness in Early Childhood Systems  ZERO TO THREE (2016)  Presents programs across the country working to include community members in the implementation of services to families to ensure they are culturally relevant and representative of the community they serve. Examples include a program in Kansas, Cherokee Nation, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia, Florida, Missouri, Washington, and New York. 

Family Support One Hope United Provides information on community-based family support programs, including intact counseling services program, intact family services, the Nurturing Parenting Program, the Parent Group Program, and supplemental services for families.

Live Well Communities Live Well San Diego Provides information on a program that engages the community to improve the health, financial strength, safety, and quality of life of children and families.

R.O.C.K. Mat-Su Implementation Project University of Denver, Butler Institute for Families Provides information and resources about the Family Contact Improvement Partnership, a group of organizations, agencies, and community stakeholders committed to improving family contact for children who are in out-of-home care. The website includes a family contact best practices guide (PDF - 7895 KB) for professionals and a video explaining the importance of meaningful, healthy, and culturally-centered family contact for children in out-of-home care.


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