Spotlight on Helping Families Thrive

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Spotlight On...

Helping Families Thrive


Many child welfare agencies are engaging in conversation with community partners about shared prevention opportunities afforded by the Family First Prevention Services Act, including the need to explicitly understand and address the root causes of child welfare agency involvement and ensure that families have access to the services they need to thrive before agency intervention.  

The field is at a crossroads: will prevention efforts achieve new and more equitable outcomes, or will disparities persist and widen? History tells us that change efforts are more successful when they are driven by lived experts and reflect the priorities of the people most directly affected by the change. 

Examples From the Field

The following are examples of prevention efforts that center the priorities and expertise of people with lived experience.  

  • The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is piloting a guaranteed income program that provides unconditional cash payments to recipients. CDSS will prioritize community-based projects that serve pregnant people or young people who aged out of foster care. Projects can request income exemptions to prevent recipients from experiencing the cliff effect (losing crucial benefits with small gains in income).  
  • Bring Up Nebraska supports local community prevention collaboratives across the majority of Nebraska’s counties. Local collaboratives are community-led and ensure that local families have universal access to basic needs. The effort, which prioritizes youth and family leadership and decision-making, is committed to examining and addressing the root causes of inequities and works intentionally to meet the needs of children and the adults in their lives through a two-generation approach.
  • The ZERO TO THREE Safe Babies Court Team approach supports and empowers parents of young children who are in, or may be at risk of entering, foster care. The team is designed to quickly connect families to supports and services including mental health and substance use treatment programs, that promote health and well-being and keeping families together. 


The Capacity Building Center for States (the Center) helps states build capacity to partner with lived experts in the movement toward more prevention-oriented systems. The importance of collaboration that centers the voices of lived experts is reflected in the Center’s approach that includes Young Adult Consultants and Family Consultants as partners to support agencies in their change efforts.  

Further, recognizing that change begins with conversation, the Center offers Visioning for Prevention: Conversation Starters” and an animated video, “The Words We Choose to Use”, to engage staff and partners in dialogue and co-create a vision for a more prevention-oriented system.  

Working Across - Prevention

The Center has several additional resources to help agencies build capacity for prevention: 




Prevention Info

Training Resources

Peer Groups

The Center for States offers opportunities for child welfare professionals to connect virtually with peers working in similar practice areas or on common initiatives through networks called peer groups. Learn more about how to request membership in peer groups such as the FFPSA Prevention Plan Leads Peer Group and the Family Leaders in Child Welfare Community of Practice. 

Related Resources 

Related Organization 

  • FRIENDS National Resource Center – provides technical assistance and training to the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention community as well as child abuse prevention information to the general public.  

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