States Focus on Improving Child Welfare

The National Governors Association (NGA) today announced that eight states—Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin—will participate in a 18-month technical assistance effort focused on improving safety and preventing fatalities within the child welfare system.

The purpose of the Three Branch Institute to Improve Child Safety and Prevent Child Fatalities is to help participating states develop an integrated and comprehensive plan by aligning the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government.

Increasingly, states are interested in bringing the three branches of government together to more fluidly improve the safety of kids in foster care as well as those at risk of child welfare involvement. Participating states will:

  • Learn about current policy efforts and opportunities to advance child safety and stabilize families;
  • Hear presentations from experts on topics such as using administrative data to assess and intervene with families at risk of child welfare involvement, evidence-informed strategies to help prevent child maltreatment and leveraging federal funding and policy opportunities;
  • Develop strategic plans to assess and improve safety among children known to the child welfare system; and,
  • Receive ongoing, customized technical assistance, including on-site consultation provided by the NGA Center for Best Practices and its partners in this initiative, which include the National Conference of State Legislatures and Casey Family Programs.

States will have a focused opportunity (with technical assistance from partners and national experts) to build upon prior work in this area. They will also work to mobilize staff capacity and other organizational assets from all three governmental branches to achieve an integrated approach, providing for the safety and prevention of fatalities and near-fatalities of those within or at risk of entering the child welfare system.

To learn more about NGA’s Economic, Human Services and Workforce Division, click here.