U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Strengthening Child Welfare Systems to Achieve Expected Child and Family Outcomes
The Strengthening Child Welfare Systems to Achieve Expected Child and Family Outcomes (Strengthening Child Welfare Systems) program aims to support states with resources to implement and sustain child welfare system improvement, including technical assistance (TA) support, to assist grantees in strengthening outcomes related to permanency, safety, and well-being. Applicants are required to use the state child welfare agency’s most current Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) findings, Program Improvement Plans (PIPs), Child and Family Services Plans (CFSPs), Annual Progress and Services Reports (APSRs), Court Improvement Program (CIP) Plans, and CIP Self-Assessments (as applicable) to identify barriers, challenges, and help inform strategies to improving the following outcomes: placement of children in kinship care arrangements, pre-adoptive, or adoptive homes; permanency planning and achievement; ensuring child safety; enhanced engagement with and service delivery to children and families, including fathers; enhancing case planning; and/or maintaining family relationships and connections.
The Strengthening Child Welfare Systems program seeks to fund demonstration projects for the development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies that focus on improving adoption outcomes by improving basic social work and organizational practice and eliminating systemic barriers. Projects must identify and address barriers to adoption that arise from legal and judicial practice.
Targeted CFSR Outcomes: Projects will address site-specific issues in order to improve the targeted child welfare system’s adoption outcomes through an improvement in Permanency Outcome (P1) and as applicable, one or more of the following related CFSR outcome(s):
- Safety Outcome 2 (S2): Children are safely maintained in their homes whenever possible and appropriate
Permanency Outcome 2 (P2): The continuity of family relationships and connections is preserved for families
- Well-Being Outcome 1 (WB1): Families have enhanced capacity to provide for their children’s needs
In establishing strategies for addressing these outcomes, projects should also take into account past performance on one or more systemic factors (i.e., foster adoptive parent licensing, recruitment, and retention; the agency’s statewide information system; QA system; staff and provider training; service array and resource development; and agency responsiveness to the community).
Target Population: Projects should target children, youth, and families who have not successfully achieved permanency and would benefit most from strategies designed to improve relevant CFSR outcomes, including adoption as a form of permanency. This population may be a subset of the child welfare population (e.g., children and youth within a specific geographic region, age group, race/ethnic group, at greatest risk of experiencing a poor permanency outcome) being served by the child welfare agency. In targeting child and family outcomes, projects must work to improve basic social work practice, and thus the target population must include child welfare professionals and other professionals who may be impacted by the proposed strategies. However, the ultimate target population will be child welfare-involved children and families.
Program Strategies, Practices, and Activities: Based on the applicant’s assessment of the child welfare agency’s and courts’ identified barriers and challenges to achieving permanency and improving P1, and/or P2, S2, and/or WB1 outcomes, projects will focus on improving one or more of the following child welfare practices related to ensuring an approach that is family-focused and driven by basic social work skills:
- Strengthening of partnerships between state, tribal, and county systems, courts, and community partners, including faith-based organizations
- Effective engagement of children, youth, and families, including fathers
- Appropriate concurrent planning focused on the achievement of timely permanency for children and families
- Appropriate assessment and mitigation of safety and risk factors in families, as well as timely and individualized provision of services, resources, and supports for children and parents of youth in foster care and receiving in-home services
- Ensuring the timeliness and quality of court filings, hearings, reviews, and orders
- Strengthening parents’ capacity to protect and provide for their children
Amount: A total of $8,050,000 is available to make up to five awards that range from $1,000,000-$1,610,000 per budget period. The project period is for 60-months.
Eligibility: State governments; local county governments; city or township governments; special district governments; independent school districts; public and state controlled entities; public or private organizations; public and private institutions of higher education; Native American tribal governments; public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities; Native American tribal organizations; nonprofits with or without 501(c)(3) status; nonprofits with the IRS; private institutions of higher education; for profit organizations; and small businesses. Applications are welcomed from consortia of county-level child welfare agencies.
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