Change and Implementation in Practice: Communications Planning

Use this tool to help your child welfare agency develop a communication plan to support your change and implementation efforts. 

Publication year: 2024
Capacity Building Center for States


Effective communication is vital to any change, implementation, or continuous quality improvement effort. A strategic communication plan can help your child welfare agency improve understanding and build support for a new or adapted program, policy, or process and align messaging with other agency initiatives. A detailed plan can also help your agency gather feedback from those affected by or responsible for implementing change.

Use this step-by-step guide and fillable template to:

  • Describe your change effort and why it’s important
  • Clarify your communication goals
  • Identify and describe your audiences
  • Organize your audiences into outreach waves
  • Develop key messages
  • Select communication strategies and channels
  • Establish key milestones and a timeline
  • Define measures of success

Agency teams can break the tool into segments, focusing only on the communication elements with which they need extra support, or complete the template in full to build a comprehensive communication plan.  

For easier printing and sharing, access the standalone Communication Plan template without the step-by-step instructions.

Suggested Citation

Capacity Building Center for States. (2024). Change and implementation in practice: Communications planning. Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit the Capacity Building Center for States.

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