Child Welfare and Education Reform
A Process of Continuous Transformation
The Child Welfare System has been in the process of transformation for the last twenty years. With increasing numbers of children and families entering the system, shrinking resources, and increasing attention paid to the how the system operates, the Child Welfare System has had to continuously attend and respond to the changing needs of the its families.
RDA has been involved in some of the most impactful Child Welfare System improvements since our inception and applies the following principles to our child welfare work:
- The diversity of California’s children and families calls for continually working towards cultural competence and relevance for children, youth, and families served. In 2010, the California Department of Social Services was awarded a multi-year grant to target the reduction of inter-ethnic disparities in the foster care system with an additional focus on responding to the needs of LGBT youth.
- Children and families are best served when child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health, and social service agencies work together. In San Francisco, County agencies serving youth joined together to develop a system of care and increase collaboration across departments. RDA developed a shared database for the County that allowed staff across departments to share records and service information. The County took over administration in 2009.
- Evidence based practices are most effective when institutionalized with policies and procedures. Child welfare departments across California are being required to demonstrate the use of evidence based practices. It is our experience that creating policies and procedures that support the implementation of evidence based practices provides a framework form which child welfare workers can achieve the most success with the children and families they’re working with.