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Visioning for Prevention: Protecting Children Through Strengthening Families

Visioning for Prevention Protecting Children Through Strengthening Families Logo

Browse a collection of publications and digital resources for the information and tools you need to move toward a more prevention-focused system.

Co-Create a Shared Vision for Prevention

Shifting toward a prevention-oriented child welfare system is a bold venture. It requires a reimagined mindset of keeping children safe within their families and communities. Child welfare agencies must actively collaborate with other agencies, community partners, service providers, families, and youth to co-create their shared vision and develop strategies for building protective factors, supporting families, and preventing child abuse and neglect.

Visioning for Prevention: Protecting Children Through Strengthening Families is a collection of publications and digital resources designed to give agency leaders and managers the information and tools needed to make the case for moving toward a more prevention-focused system. Agencies can use these resources to:

  • Promote the value of collaboration as the key to prevention, child safety, child and family well-being, and long-term stability
  • Assess where to focus energy to bring about change
  • Begin critical conversations to create a shared vision
  • Engage staff and others invested in child and family well-being
  • Enhance existing training programs
  • Build foundational knowledge about prevention-oriented systems, see examples of real-life strategies, and spark conversations with staff, community partners, family, and youth

Why Is Moving Toward a Prevention-Focused System Important?

The Evidence for Strengthening Families

Learn about the evidence for system change and build understanding among staff and partners. This literature review provides research, evidence, and data on the shortcomings of the current reactive child welfare system design and the value of prevention achieved through collaborative efforts. The research also draws connections between investment in prevention and the reduction of inequities within the system. 

How Can I Collaborate With Staff and Stakeholders to Create a Vision for a Prevention-Focused System?

Visioning for Prevention Infographic

Share this infographic with agency staff, service providers, and community and family partners to see what a family-serving, prevention-focused network looks like, show the benefits of becoming that system, and make plans for enhancing your own network.  

Vision Tracking Matrix

Identify what you can do to advance your prevention vision, what you will see as that vision takes root, and help your team stay aligned to your vision over time.

How Do We Reframe the Conversation About Prevention?

Visioning for Prevention: Reframing the Conversation Discussion Guide and Animated Video

Engage staff and partners with activities and prompts from the Conversation Starters guide to create a collective vision for strengthening families. Find the language, mindsets, and attitude shifts to embody in your vision, and determine your long-term goals and aspirations. Together, watch the short, animated video The Words We Choose to Use and use Conversation Starter activities to examine the language, patterns of thought, and messaging that can either hold back or support your vision for a system that focuses on strengthening families to prevent child abuse and neglect. 

What Are Other States Doing?

Standing Up Your Prevention Program: Advice From the Field

Watch the recorded webinars and listen to the podcasts in this series to hear how colleagues in North Carolina, Washington, and Indiana are engaging and collaborating with partners to shift their child welfare systems towards prevention. In the short podcast episodes paired with each recorded webinar, presenters give practical advice about building a shared vision and making their partnerships work. Use tips and activities in the discussion guide to help your team apply what they learn to their work.

Additional Resources

The Center for States has identified additional resources to complement Visioning for Prevention: Protecting Children Through Strengthening Families.

Establish a Common Understanding

Working Across the Prevention Continuum to Strengthen Families

As a first step, establish a common understanding among community partners, legislators, child welfare agency staff, caregivers, youth, and other stakeholders. This foundational resource illustrates what an integrated, comprehensive, prevention-focused approach looks like along a three-tiered prevention continuum and includes definitions and jurisdictional examples.

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