Spotlight on Shifting Agency Values Toward Collaboration for Supporting Healthy Families

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Shifting Agency Values Toward Collaboration for Supporting Healthy Families


An important step in supporting healthy families starts with shifting agency values toward collaboration. Preventing child abuse and neglect successfully requires enhancing a community’s system of care by establishing a broad, flexible array of services and supports that are coordinated across multiple organizations and at multiple levels within them. It also means developing a system that is culturally competent and builds meaningful partnerships with families and youth in all areas of service delivery and system structure[1].

Together, agencies and their partners can align and model values that support healthy families and build family protective factors as a primary method of keeping children safe. Working together, they can share expertise and funding, shoulder the work, and make a greater positive impact on child and family well-being. In this way, child welfare agencies can move from a siloed system focused on crisis intervention to a more integrated system that empowers and offers support to strengthen all families. 


  • Focusing on partnerships and collaboration makes it possible to get resources to strengthen families when and where they need the support. The availability of resources and services within one’s community can impact the likelihood of maltreatment[2].
  • Florida partnered with local community providers to open resource centers in areas with high removal rates, giving citizens access to resources and services in their communities. Between 2009 and 2015, foster care placement decreased, and substantiated abuse and neglect cases dropped by 44 percent in these communities[3].
  • The benefits of investing in prevention and family-strengthening activities significantly outweigh their costs. An analysis in Washington determined that after 5 years of implementing an evidence-based prevention programming strategy, the state would receive long-term net benefits between $317 million and $493 million[4].


Building community partnerships and systems of care to support healthy families and prevent child abuse and neglect requires collaboration. Agencies can cultivate this partnership by developing collaborative teams that include youth and families, making the commitment to engage and involve members of the community, and establishing shared goals. With strong partnerships and a shared vision to guide their work, collaborative teams can lead efforts to identify community challenges and develop the structures and supports to overcome them.

The Capacity Building Center for States has several resources, many highlighted on the Prevention webpage, to help agencies build capacity for collaboration with child-serving organizations, communities, families, and youth to support strengthening families.

Publications and Other Resources 

Resource Series

Videos and Archived Webinars

Related Resources

Related Organizations

  • FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention – Supports community-based child abuse prevention (CBCAP) state lead agencies and grantees to build capacity in the successful implementation of their CBCAP programs.
  • National Family Support Network – Consists of statewide networks of Family Support and Strengthening programs, such as Family Resource Centers, working together within a collective impact framework to ensure coordinated quality support for families.

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