In family-centered practice, families are recognized as experts in determining what is best for themselves and their children. Agencies and professionals enter into partnerships with families and youth, who are given equal voice in all aspects of policy, program, and service design; decision-making; implementation; and evaluation. Family engagement is a prerequisite for helping the family achieve its goals.
The following resources address how to understand and fully engage families in child welfare services and include State and local examples.
Expanding the Family Circle
University at Albany, School of Social Welfare (2009)
Teaches a framework for the experienced caseworker to integrate a culturally competent, family-centered approach to casework practice. The training offers skills and strategies for working with all members of a family system and includes a curriculum, activities, trainer's manual, and participant workbook.
Family Engagement Strategies in Child Welfare International Review: Annotated Bibliography
American Humane Association (2010)
Provides a searchable annotated bibliography of 67 resources describing different processes and strategies for engaging families in child welfare services.
Family Involvement in the Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care Initiative (PDF - 716 KB)
National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center for Systems of Care (2010)
Describes the planning process and implementation of family involvement at the case, peer, and systems levels and identifies lessons learned and recommendations to enhance implementation of future family involvement efforts in child welfare. Also see the Appendices (PDF - 421 KB).
Growing and Sustaining Parent Engagement: A Toolkit for Parents and Community Partners (PDF - 495 KB)
Center for the Study of Social Policy (2010)
Features approaches to parent engagement and provides examples and questions to help readers create their own parent engagement roadmap, checklist, and support network.
The Importance of Family Engagement in Child Welfare Services (PDF - 425 KB)
Larsen-Rife & Brooks (2009)
Northern California Training Academy
Discusses barriers caseworkers encounter in engaging families in child welfare services and identifies characteristics of families associated with effective engagement.
Parent Partner Programs for Families Involved in the Child Welfare System
California Evidence-Based Practice Clearinghouse for Child Welfare
Describes parent partner programs reviewed and rated by the clearinghouse for their effectiveness in engaging parents to meeting their goals in safety, permanency, and well-being. Also see Motivation and Engagement Programs.
Putting the Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework to Work in Your Program: Integrating Strategies for Program Progress (ISPP) (PDF - 1,198 KB)
National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (2012)
Helps Head Start professionals understand the framework for engaging parents, families, and communities, and explores strategies for reaching the framework's parent and family engagement outcomes.
Quick Reference Guide: Various Approaches and Models to Engage the Family Group in Child Welfare Decision Making (PDF - 122 KB)
National Center on Family Group Decision Making (2009)
Describes principles and components of different family engagement models, including child protection mediation, family group or family team conferencing, family group decision-making, family team meetings, and the permanency teaming process.
Safety, Fairness, Stability: Repositioning Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare to Engage Families and Communities (PDF - 4,905 KB)
Pennell, Shapiro, & Spigner (2011)
Center for Juvenile Justice Reform
Offers strategies for ensuring that youth involved with both child protection and juvenile justice maintain connections to their homes, schools, and communities and examines ways to advance family leadership in service systems.
Speak Up Be Safe: The Role of Community-Based Organizations in Protecting Children (PDF - 555 KB)
Monique Burr Foundation for Children (2011)
Provides recommendations for strategies that can be used by community-based organizations to support the child abuse prevention efforts of schools and to reinforce the messages of the Speak Up Be Safe program in the community.
Engaging With Parents: Self-Study Guide (PDF - 878 KB)
Alaska Office of Children's Services (2009)
Presents a 21-hour self-study unit based on the principles of the Strengthening Families and Stronger Together programs that helps social work practitioners successfully engage with families. Modules address partnership, shared power, family strengths, cultural competence, family-driven, social support, and nurturing hope and joy.
Family Engagement: Maximizing Family Resources and Kinship Connections (PDF - 267 KB)
Advocacy, Inc.; Corinne Wolfe Children's Law Center; New Mexico CASA Network; New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department; New Mexico Citizen Review Board; & New Mexico Children's Court Improvement Commission (2011)
Discusses part of a series that focuses on best practices in the field of child protection that have demonstrated positive outcomes for children and families in New Mexico and nationally. Includes current practices for implementing family engagement strategies, best practices in family engagement, and the roles of different stakeholders in implementing best practices for family engagement.
Five Counties, Many Voices: Profiles of Family Engagement in Colorado's Child Welfare System (PDF - 200 KB)
American Humane Association
Outlines discussions being held by five Colorado counties about the implementation of and best practices for family engagement models at their human services departments.
Hawaii Child Welfare Services (CWS) Family Partnership and Engagement Practice Model (PDF - 40 KB)
Child Welfare Services, Hawaii Department of Human Services (2010)
Discusses a model that defines how CWS, families, and community partners collaboratively engage children and families in developing and delivering services and assistance to meet their unique needs.
Parent Leadership and Family Engagement in CPS and Foster Care (PDF - 2,038 KB)
Virginia Child Protection Newsletter, 92, 2011
Discusses the benefits and challenges of parent leadership and parent and family engagement, successful models, and the three levels of parent engagement with the child welfare system.
Virginia's Family Engagement Implementation Strategy for Child Welfare (PDF - 83 KB)
Virginia Department of Social Services (2009)
Describes Virginia's efforts to implement a family engagement model across the State. The document lists key activities in the areas of collaboration and integration, information sharing, local readiness assessment analysis, data, and training.