“Organizational capacity” refers to the potential of a child welfare system to be productive and effective.
Child welfare systems can realize this potential by developing their human and organizational assets and using them to successfully implement effective policies, programs, and practices. These assets can include things like fiscal resources, processes, institutional knowledge, leadership, and relationships.
The Collaborative defines “capacity building” as an ongoing, evidence-informed process used to develop a system's potential to be productive and effective.
The Collaborative’s capacity building approach draws from what’s been shown in research and practice to create lasting organizational change. Capacity building often involves completing a series of deliberate action steps and using a combination of complementary strategies—such as assessment, strategic planning, information sharing, training, technical assistance, coaching, resource development, and evaluation—that support organizations to achieve current and future goals.
An agency’s organizational capacity influences its ability to initiate and sustain change. Healthy and well-functioning agencies often have strengths that can enable success, while struggling agencies frequently have capacity needs that prevent it. Child welfare agencies must routinely assess and develop multiple aspects of their organizational capacity to effectively respond to the complex and continually evolving environments in which they operate. Ultimately, organizational capacity helps agencies achieve positive outcomes for children, youth, and families. One key measure of child welfare programs and agency performance on safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes is the Federal Child and Family Services Review.