Policy and Practice Change

Purpose: Improve policies and practices to reduce barriers and increase accessibility and relevance of services that lead to positive family outcomes.

Ongoing evaluation of how well families and children are being served is important to achieving desired results. Communities need to routinely assess their efforts, identify gaps and barriers, and chart courses to improve policies and practices. Partnerships test innovative approaches, promote best practices, and influence system changes to better serve families and protect children.

Parents and youth who have real life experiences with the child welfare system are key contributors to the development of policy and practice change. Involving community members, as well as families and youth directly impacted by the child welfare system, significantly changes the conversation about policies and practices related to child protection.

Partnerships work to develop and implement plans to address specific barriers and to incorporate best practice approaches in the delivery of services. Examples include:

• Promoting authentic family and youth engagement

• Reducing minority disproportionality and disparity in the child welfare system

• Expanding the availability and enhancing the quality of family team meetings

• Implementing youth-centered transition planning for youth leaving foster care


• Gather and utilize data and community insights to identify and assess needs for change

• Explore opportunities to implement best practices

• Facilitate parent and youth input

• Implement and evaluate change within the context of the community

Policy and Practice Change in Action

Community Partnerships have promoted the implementation of the Parent Partners. Parent Partners is an approach that promotes innovative changes in social work practice that is unique because it not only celebrates individuals that have overcome obstacles through change, recovery, and accountability, but also uses their skills to mentor families who are currently navigating through DHS as their children are in foster or kinship care. Parent Partners demonstrate advocacy and effective communication, while holding families accountable.

Images of people and children