Theory of Change - Center for States - Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative Skip to main content

An official website of the United States government

Man and young man hugging and smiling outside of a building

Capacity Building


Theory of Change

Theory of Change Icon

When working toward a solution to a child welfare challenge, child welfare teams should envision the desired results and the necessary conditions or changes that will ultimately lead to results. A theory of change is a roadmap that charts the path from an identified problem, need, or opportunity to the desired outcomes. 

Child welfare agency leaders, managers, change and implementation teams, and continuous quality improvement teams can select the level of information that best meets their needs to increase foundational knowledge. They can then apply what they have learned about building a theory of change to practice. 

Access the Theory of Change Resources

Need Detailed Information?

Dive into the Theory of Change brief to gain an understanding of key concepts and terms related to building a theory of change, and access step-by-step guidance and suggested activities.

Interested in a High-Level Overview?

Read Change and Implementation at a Glance: Theory of Change for a summary of the key takeaways and steps of developing a theory of change.

Want to Put Your Knowledge Into Practice?

Watch the Theory of Change videos to get a snapshot of key activities involved in developing a theory of change. Use the integrated Theory of Change video workbook to record your questions and ideas for changing practice, which you can then use to apply the theory of change development process at your agency.

Access the Theory of Change archived webinar to gain additional information about lessons learned and real-life examples. Use the related Theory of Change discussion and activity guide to support knowledge and skill development for individuals and teams and facilitate team discussion and targeted action planning.