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About the Collaborative

The Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is committed to continuously improving its training and technical assistance. Over the past 20 years, Children's Bureau-funded services have adapted in response to new legislation and research, changes in standards of best practice, and emerging needs in the field of child welfare. Building on the prior work of the National Child Welfare Resource Centers and Child Welfare Implementation Centers, the Children's Bureau launched the new Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative. The Collaborative is a partnership among three centers—the Center for States, Center for Tribes, and Center for Courts. This new structure consolidates services that had previously been organized by topical area and geographic region in an attempt to increase coordination, leverage resources, and provide more strategic service provision.

The Collaborative is designed to help public child welfare agencies, Tribes, and courts enhance and mobilize the human and organizational assets necessary to meet Federal standards and requirements; improve child welfare practice and administration; and achieve safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children, youth, and families.

The purpose of the Collaborative is to build capacity.

The Collaborative defines "capacity building" as an ongoing, evidence-informed process that is intended to develop a system's potential to be productive and effective. Capacity can be built by applying a child welfare system's human and organizational assets to achieve its current and future goals.

Capacity Building Collaborative Video

Introduces the Capacity Building Collaborative and describes the work the Collaborative does with agencies, Tribes, and courts to build capacity, enhance practice, and improve outcomes for children, youth, and families.

Descriptive Audio Versionexternal link

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All States, territories, and Tribes that receive title IV-E or IV-B funds administered by the Children's Bureau and jurisdictions with title IV-E waiver demonstrations are eligible for services from the Collaborative.

The Centers provide three general types of services:

  • Universal Services increase awareness and understanding of current and emerging child welfare issues, and promote engagement among a broad audience of agency and court professionals.
  • Constituency Services enhance knowledge, skills, and relationships among groups of professionals and cohorts of jurisdictions.
  • Tailored Services help individual States, Tribes, and territories assess their needs, develop the capacity to improve performance, and achieve positive outcomes for children and families.

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Dimensions of Capacity

The Collaborative supports child welfare professionals and organizations to assess and enhance their capacity in several key areas:

Resources: Concrete materials and assets (e.g., staff, funds, information, and equipment)

Infrastructure: Organizational structure and processes (e.g., policies and procedures, lines of authority, functional departments, programs, and service structures)

Knowledge and skills: Expertise and competencies of staff (e.g., technical and analytic skills, cultural competency, and leadership)

Culture and climate: Organizational norms, beliefs, values, and attitudes (e.g., perceptions of agency effectiveness, institutional expectations of behavior, and feelings about one's role and value in the workplace)

Engagement and partnership: Relationships within and outside the organization (e.g., internal teaming, community participation, interagency agreements, and shared authority with key stakeholders)

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