The Annie E. Casey Foundation is partnering with the U.S. Children's Bureau, Casey Family Programs, and Prevent Child Abuse America to launch a national effort aimed at fundamentally rethinking child welfare systems in the United States.
The initiative, Thriving Families, Safer Children: A National Commitment to Well-Being, will work across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to assist jurisdictions in developing more just and equitable systems that benefit all children and families and break harmful intergenerational cycles of trauma and poverty. To that end, efforts will be focused on creating and enhancing networks of community-based supports and aligning government resources to provide a prevention continuum that strengthens community and parental protective capacities and mitigates associated risk factors.
Starting in California/Los Angeles County, Colorado, Nebraska, and South Carolina, the multiyear initiative will provide resources and support to help move jurisdictions from traditional, reactive child protection systems to systems that proactively support child and family well-being and prevent child maltreatment and unnecessary family separation. In its second phase, the initiative will partner with jurisdictions to advance policy and systemic reforms at the state, tribal, or territorial level. And in phase three, the effort will share lessons learned to help other jurisdictions launch their own programs.
"Families are our greatest asset in ensuring that all children are safe and have what they need to thrive and succeed — especially now, during the coronavirus crisis," said Prevent Child Abuse America president and CEO Melissa T. Merrick. "This extraordinary moment provides an opportunity to shift the narrative from child welfare to child well-being. We must leverage this new way of thinking to develop and deliver effective and impactful community-based resources that assist families in ways which strengthen and help keep them together."