Thriving Families, Safer Children
Families Forward Virginia is now part of Thriving Families, Safer Children: A National Commitment to Well-Being—a first-of-its-kind effort of the U.S. Children’s Bureau, Casey Family Programs, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Prevent Child Abuse America—as the investment expands its reach to include child welfare jurisdictions in 22 states, including Virginia, that stretch from coast to coast and a sovereign tribal nation.
For Virginia this innovative approach will provide resources and support for five to seven selected jurisdictions, localities and communities that create, build and collaborate with people who have lived experience, other community organizations, civic groups, and non-traditional service providers in the development of a Family Resource Center framework that focuses on advancing primary prevention initiatives. The Family Resource Center framework provides multiple services to both children and families, increases parenting skills and protective factors, and reduces the likelihood of formal involvement with child protective services. This helps stabilize families before a crisis reaches a level requiring CPS intervention, or a child’s placement in out-of-home care.
Thriving Families seeks to demonstrate that intentional, coordinated investment in a full continuum of prevention and robust community-based networks of support will promote overall child and family well-being, equity and other positive outcomes for children and families. The partners believe it is time to act on what we know: Community and family support helps keep children safe and well.
“Right now we have an extraordinary opportunity to shift the narrative from child welfare to child and family well-being,” said Jamia Crockett, CEO of Families Forward Virginia. “This means moving away from reactive, after-the-fact interventions and moving toward a proactive, holistic approach that addresses the specific needs of parents and caregivers, prevents violence before it occurs and delivers effective and impactful community-based resources that strengthen families and keep them together.”
“Instead of separating children from families, the focus must be on strengthening families with the kinds of resources that will keep children safe at home and families stronger together” Crockett said. “This effort emphasizes the invaluable expertise of diverse community stakeholders—most importantly families who have experienced the child welfare system—to help them discern and develop the supports, resources, services and approaches to meet the unique needs of their families and promote the conditions to help them thrive.”
Families Forward Virginia (Prevent Child Abuse America’s Virginia chapter) together with the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Social Services and the Family and Children’s Trust Fund of Virginia, will focus on creating and enhancing networks of community-based supports and aligning government resources to provide a full prevention continuum that strengthens community protective factors and parental protective capacities while mitigating associated risk factors. The multiyear commitment will provide resources and support from the four partners and other relevant child-and-family serving federal agencies, jurisdictions, diverse community stakeholders, as well as the public, private, faith-based and philanthropic sectors, to create more just, equitable and humane child and family well-being systems.