Improve outcomes for children and their families by designing and implementing successful system change and improving front line practice
The Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group offers assistance to agencies and organizations seeking to improve their ability to protect children from harm, strengthen families and provide permanence and well-being for the children they serve.
A focus on practice
CWG is committed to excellence in child welfare practice and outcomes. CWG provides assistance in strategic planning, practice model development, curriculum development in front-line practice and supervision, coaching and mentoring for practitioners and supervisors and qualitative practice evaluation. CWG has served child welfare, children′s mental health and juvenile justice systems in dozens of states, always focused on building internal capacity to sustain high quality front-line practice and improved outcomes.
CWG grew out of a child welfare class action settlement agreement in Alabama in the 1990s, R.C. v. Hornsby, involving a case filed by the Washington, DC based Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, The Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, the State ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. At that time, Paul Vincent, Founder and retired Director of CWG, was the new director of Alabama′s child welfare system. Current and previous CWG staff and consultants served in key leadership roles supporting implementation of the sweeping R.C. reforms. Experience and valuable lessons learned in Alabama’s reform continue to shape CWG′s technical assistance today.
In that case, titled after the named class member, R.C., the original plaintiff class was composed of children in the child welfare system with mental health needs. The class ultimately grew to include almost all of the children in the system. The settlement agreement contained a set of practice principles which the child welfare system committed to implement statewide over a multi-year period. Implementation of the principles was intended to create a child welfare system of care. System of Care and Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP) concepts influenced the development of the settlement, as did the principles of the Individualized Educational Programs (IEP) process. Provisions were crafted using engagement approaches from intensive family preservation services and the person-centered services philosophy of developmental disabilities practice. Implementation of the principles had a transformative positive impact on practice and outcomes for the children and families served.