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Listening, Learning, and Leadership: Partnering with Families and Communities to Prevent Entry into Foster Care

August 26, 2021

We are excited for the opportunity to partner with four of our social service ministries in efforts to prevent families from entering the foster care system and close racial disparities. The Family Stabilization Initiative is a unique opportunity because it provides funding to implement evidence-based wraparound programs while, at the same time, building organizational capacity and peer support.

Our member organizations are using the WISe and C.A.R.E.S. models because both have a strong commitment to recognizing family strengths and understanding local and culturally specific context. Both prioritize having large and diverse community partnerships and ensuring flexibility in responding to and advocating for families.

We recognize that even the strongest evidence-based programs have not always been studied or designed to close racial disparities. With this in mind, and as part of the Lutheran Services in America Results Innovation Lab, the cohort of organizations in the Family Stabilization Initiative are concurrently working through a series of six results-based sessions that ensure we collect disaggregated data by race, analyze data with a racial lens, and develop strategies and program implementation with families and partners who are most closely impacted by child welfare. In addition to program fidelity measures, the member organizations will be setting clear goals and indicators for this project and will test and iterate along the journey.

Finally, we hope the cohort serves as a peer community where learning, trouble-shooting, and best practices thrive and can be shared across teams and across states. This collaboration and group accountability will reinforce our commitment to closing racial disparities, scaling more successful programs, and developing more effective sustainability plans.

We look forward to sharing our learning along the way!

Learn more about our Family Stabilization Initiative.

By Paula R. Young, Director of Strategy and Implementation for Child, Youth, and Family Initiatives