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Capacity Building

CENTER FOR STATES

Becoming a Family-Focused System: One Agency's Story

Becoming a Family-Focused System logo, a family inside a house supported by two hands

Follows the experiences of child welfare staff, stakeholders, and family leaders as they assess staff beliefs and implement strategies to shift the culture and climate around family engagement and continuity of relationships.

Five animated videos tell the story of one agency's journey as it moves from a compliance-oriented, defensive culture toward a more constructive organizational culture that emphasizes performance, support, and innovation. Program managers can use these videos to spark conversations with staff and stakeholders about assessing and changing agency culture and climate to support working in partnership with families.

Episode 1: Walking the Talk

Uncovers staff attitudes and beliefs that stand in the way of becoming family focused. Francie, the agency's foster care program manager, has a conversation with two new caseworkers and discovers a disconnect between what the agency promotes through its vision and mission and what is actually happening in practice.

Episode 2: Listening to Staff and Families

Describes strategies to change staff attitudes, engage families in developing their case plans, and keep children in foster care connected with their families and community. Rosa, the parent partner, shares how she joined the team, what she does in her role, and how the workgroup is helping the agency improve the support and services provided to families.

Episode 3: Supporting Families and Kin

Presents strategies to promote engagement and support of families and kin, and describes the importance of continuous feedback. Steven, the kinship navigator, shares how he joined the team, what he does in his role, and what the workgroup is doing to help the agency improve the support and services provided to families.

Episode 4: Partnering With the Courts

Shows strategies for child welfare staff to work with the court system to support family involvement. Joe, the Court Improvement Program lead, talks about his experience in the workgroup and the corresponding changes made in the court system to improve the support and services provided to families.

Episode 5: Reinforcing Changes

Describes practices that embed and sustain changes in organizational culture. Caseworkers Tyler, Angela, and Laurence and program manager Francie talk about all the changes in the past year that have shifted the culture to better support families.