Partnering for Systems Change

The Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) program provides federal funding to all 50 States, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. The funds are for the implementation of community-based and prevention-focused programs and activities designed to strengthen and support families to prevent child abuse and neglect.

This summary highlights child abuse prevention activities and services implemented during the 2019 funding year for CBCAP State Lead Agencies. To learn more about the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) that guides the program click here to download the legislation.

The information shared below provides both a snapshot of services implemented throughout the country and specific state examples of work on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Fathers; Family Resource Centers; and Data Collection Methods.

Parent Leadership and Collaboration

Ten states share how they are working to collaborate and engage youth and parents with lived experiences. The examples comprise parents in the planning and program implementation of the CBCAP lead agency and locally funded programs, including meaningful involvement of parents of children with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, and members of underrepresented and underserved groups.


The Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, the CBCAP state lead agency, funds The Alabama Parent Leadership Network (APLN).* It provides ten extensive sessions relevant to parents and families in Alabama and incorporates the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework.   Cohorts of parents are drawn from various state systems and community-based programs.  After the sessions, parent leaders remain connected by weekly phone calls and a closed Facebook Group.  The Governor has appointed some of the graduates to sit on statewide boards.  Some have participated in reviewing grant applications for the Department.  Evaluation by Auburn University found that participants had statistically significant improvements in all seven outcome measures.  The measures include stress management skills, skills to manage maltreatment risk, understanding various forms of child maltreatment, medical care commitment, parenting skills and child development knowledge, knowledge of and use of support services, and use of informal support networks. 

In addition, all CBCAP grantees are required to promote and provide opportunities for parents to have meaningful input on service delivery.  For example, respite programs for parents of children with disabilities include parents in group classes where they can interact with other parents as well as with their children with disabilities. These sessions help reduce social isolation and provide socialization opportunities, sharing of valuable resources, and bonding among families.  In some parent education programs, parents lead group activities and instruction and give homework activities to the group.  After completing sessions, parents are encouraged to stay connected by establishing post-graduation peer support groups.

The Program Facilitator of the Alabama Parent Leadership Network uses results from the Protective Factors Survey completed by parent-participants to assess and inform her planning and implementation moving forward. 

* A CBCAP-funded grant from the Lead Agency (The Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention [ADCANP], also known as the Alabama Children’s Trust [ACT]) to the Alabama Partnership for Children (APC) supports this initiative.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) houses the Arkansas Children’s Trust Fund and is the state agency that administers the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Grant.

The Arkansas Children’s Trust developed a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) for the first time.  The purpose of the PAC is to advise the Children’s Trust Fund and the Prevention/Reunification Unit by ensuring that strong parent voices help shape programs, services, and strategies, resulting in better outcomes for children and families. Council members serve as strategic partners to help the Trust gain a greater understanding of family needs and identify service gaps. 

The PAC began with conference calls every other month as well as three face-to-face meetings.  Midway through the year, the group decided to increase their calls to once a month to keep their focus and get more done.  They developed a work plan that:

  1. made recommendations for more “parent-friendly” language in a guidebook for parents whose children have been taken into foster care and provided inspirational quotes about their own experiences with the child welfare system, and;
  2. made recommendations for the State’s Child and Family Service Plan.   They sought to improve family engagement, increase primary prevention, improve access to substance abuse treatment, prevent child removal, and promote family reunification. 

The plan also includes developing a speakers’ bureau, increasing involvement of parent partners in all agency levels, expanding parent support groups across the state, and encouraging greater relationships between birth parents and foster parents. 

DCFS will continue to support the Parent Advisory Council and work with them as strategic partners. Some of their goals for the upcoming year include developing an orientation packet for parents entering the child welfare system, developing parent support groups across the state, and making themselves available to participate in central office workgroups that are formed around new initiatives. PAC members will also be invited to review the Predict Align Prevent (PAP) geospatial risk analysis for Little Rock and participate in the development of service recommendations.


The Office of Child Abuse Prevention (OCAP), housed within the Children and Families Services Division (CFSD) of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), is the State Lead Agency for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) funding.

The OCAP has continued to raise awareness for parent leadership and is finding creative ways to encourage parents to get involved in their communities.  Internally, the OCAP works to raise awareness within the CDSS by disseminating an all-staff memo informing employees about Parent Leadership Month and any associated activities.

The OCAP also created a lobby display at CDSS Headquarters, which included a slideshow of parents’ photos, submitted by employees, with words of thanks and encouragement for all they do.  Displays in the CDSS Headquarters have the potential to be seen by 1,850 employees and 2,320 monthly visitors.  The OCAP creates a new Parent Leadership Month Toolkit posted to the CDSS website each year for organizations and agencies to raise awareness throughout February.

In addition to promoting Parent Leadership Month via the CDSS social media channels, website, and OCAP newsletter, the OCAP hosted the Second Annual Parent Leadership Awards in February. Nominations were received from across the state, recognizing parents for outstanding work in their communities. Three parents were honored with this award and were recognized at Kids’ Day at the Capitol.  More information about the 2019 Parent Leadership Award winners can be found at https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/ocap/pl-can-award-winners-2019, and additional information about Kids’ Day at the Capitol can be found at  http://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/OCAP/CAP-Month.

 Parent Engagement Reports

OCAP acknowledges parent engagement as a critical component of prevention planning success. Counties are asked to report on the types of leadership activities counties offer to parents in their community. In FY 2018-19, CAPC meetings were the most common way to engage parents, followed by making a place for parents on local advisory boards/councils/coalitions.  Seven counties reported including at least one parent on their State advisory board/councils/coalitions.  Figure 4 shows the many ways counties engage parents.

County Examples

Los Angeles:

A mother in Los Angeles attended a 12-week Nurturing Parenting class to build nurturing parenting skills as an alternative to abusive and neglecting parenting and child-rearing practices.  She also participated in a 10-week Parent Café group, where she learned about and discussed the Protective Factors. As she learned about her own capacity, she decided to become a parent volunteer.  She supports school staff with playground supervision, valet drop-off in the mornings, and classroom projects.

When the family faced financial difficulties, the case navigator supported them with emergency concrete support and case navigation services.  As she and her case manager became more comfortable, the Client was more willing to participate in additional services. She agreed to participate in the “Family Day at Descanso Gardens, which marked the first time that she went somewhere outside of their neighborhood with her husband and their 5-year old daughter.  The Client said, “our family trips were to McDonald’s or Target, just because my husband is afraid of the unknown.”  Her husband grew more willing to try new activities, and her daughter has made new friends from other organizations.  These experiences have given her a platform to build on her own capacity as a parent and community leader.

San Luis Obispo:

Through their parent outreach program, San Luis Obispo’s Child Abuse Prevention Council (CPAC), the Center for Strengthening Families, brought on a local mother. She began joining monthly CAPC meetings to learn about local resources and to build up her social connections. Through the meetings, she learned about the “Parents as Leaders” group.  She decided to join the parent leaders team and began to strengthen her knowledge about child development and parenting. She received an 8-hour training on the Five Protective Factors and Parent Cafes and subsequently facilitated Parent Cafes for local parenting programs.  She helped provide these workshops to local recovery programs, homeless shelters, and child development resource programs.  She actively participates in each workshop and uses her bilingual skills to translate and interpret our Cafes into Spanish.  The Parent Cafe facilitation experience allowed the mother to excel in her own goals.  She has graduated from a local leadership program and incorporates the five protective factors for strengthening families into her personal life.  


A mom of three in Shasta County manages her adult child’s mental health issues and other special needs. This mom is hands-on and frequents family-friendly activities around town at the local library, city parks, and YMCA.  She became a Parent Leader Advisory Group (PLAG) participant after being invited to a PLAG Parent to Parent Support Group.  She had been searching for a way to give back to the community and in PLAG found an instant connection where she valued “the group dynamic and sense of community.”  She is passionate about supporting families because she found herself in need of support not that long ago. This mom was trained as an official Parent Leader and is a passionate leader who has championed outreach events, being that friendly voice encouraging others to join PLAG or attend Parent Cafes.  She is also a trained table host who leads tables at Parent Cafes and brings a positive spin to tough topics.  This mom also helped bring Family Hui to Shasta County.


The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC), the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) state lead agency, partnered with Prevent Child Abuse Connecticut (PCACT) to ensure that parent involvement was a continuous thread through PCAT’s strategic planning.   PACT ensured that parent voices were a part of all PCACT activities.  PCACT also hosted a Parent Leadership summit that provided parents with an opportunity to learn from each other through Parent Cafes and other parent-led activities. 

Parents joined the boards of CBCAP-funded local programs and were active in educating legislators about their programs.  In focus groups and surveys, parents were asked to critique their programs and discuss their needs.  They also served as advisory committee members, planning and advising social events and participating in legislative advocacy.  They helped plan and attended the Childhood Conversations/Together We Will Conference for Child Abuse Prevention Month. 

Parents also played a pivotal role in the OEC Home Visiting System through twelve family focus groups. More than 115 parents from around the state participated.  Groups were offered in English and Spanish.  Preliminary results indicate twenty concerns for families, among them long waitlists for services, barriers to mental health and infant mental health services, transportation, stigma, and challenges with the 211 system. 

In addition, Creating Space for Parent Leadership in a Trauma-Informed System brought together forty-two providers and nine parents to explore a systemic approach to parental contribution and to learn from parents about family and community supports that are important to them. 

A merger of Project Launch and Help Me Grow guides the Connecticut Home Initiative and Youth with Special Health Care Needs programs. Both programs recruit parents, and parents from both programs have been active in planning the partnership.  A vibrant group of parent leaders from Project Launch helps guide Help Me Grow as it looks to partner with the Connecticut Medical Home Initiative for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs.  Both programs seek to recruit parents to help guide them in their work. 

Finally, OEC offered training in parent leadership using a retreat format to develop group communication, followed by two 10-week classes, the first on self and perception of leadership, and the second on practicing democracy skills.  The training also involved a community-based project on the parent’s passion; understanding personal history and its impact on perceptions of leadership;  thriving and working with diversity;  assessing and defining problems—thinking critically; using the media;  public speaking; using benchmark and outcome measures; forming useful coalitions and building community; how to engage and work with the opposition; understanding policy and municipal budgets; and becoming familiar with city, state and federal law. This parent leadership training is a step toward forming an OEC Parent Cabinet.


Prevent Child Abuse Delaware (PCAD), the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) lead agency, sponsors Strengthening Families, Partnering with Parents, and Delaware Readiness Teams.  PCAD requires that parents be members of the leadership teams at each of the Strengthening Families program sites.  A parent letter of support is required to be considered for funding.  Additional parents are involved in completing the self-assessment tool and creating and implementing the site-specific plans of action.  The technical assistant assigned to the childcare centers meets with parents during the first month of the grant year to discuss the grant and explain the parent role in implementing grant activities.  The role of parent leadership is explained along with the need for family involvement, and parents are asked to step up to be leaders.

The Partnering with Parents leadership teams are responsible for planning and evaluating grant sponsored activities at each childcare center. Parent participants evaluate each activity, and the leadership team reviews their feedback.  The teams provide feedback to the center director and staff about concerns and help to brainstorm ideas.  Specific strategies to enhance parent leadership include:

  1. maintaining contact with Parent Council leaders during the summer to involve them in planning for the next year and in interviewing potential staff members;
  2. using parent leaders to orient new families to the childcare center;
  3. following Head Start standards to elect officers and hold monthly Parent Policy Council meetings.

All nineteen Delaware Readiness Teams include parents/family members.  They work with other community representatives to plan and implement projects that support school children and families within their neighborhoods.  During this program year, parents have shared their experiences, changed/adapted programs, and engaged in outreach activities.  They were involved in a statewide campaign to make kindergarten registration consistent across the state.  As a result, registration was centralized statewide.  They advocated for access to the Ages and Stages Questionaire Screening materials.  As a result, links are available through all school districts and state agencies.  Feedback from parents was also used to modify programs and services.  Parent leadership was involved in conference planning committees.  A parent trainer provided training to other parents.


The Maryland Family Network (MFN), Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) state lead agency, held an annual day of advocacy that brought more than 300 parents of young children, many of them for the first time, to the State Capitol to meet with legislators, learn about the legislative process, and make their voices heard.  Once again, the “stroller brigade” carried MFN’s mission and message into the halls of the State House and legislative offices.  Parents acquired advocacy tools and were empowered to educate legislators about the need for services in Maryland.

In addition, the Maryland Family Network conducted an annual Leadership Institute for parents.  Fifty-three parents attended the two-day training.  Participants were chosen by their local programs.  Advanced notice was given to center directors, enabling them to be selective in choosing for attendance parents who would likely attend and complete the two-day training.  Parents were provided with stipends, assistance with childcare costs, and transportation. Gift incentives were awarded for participation.  Interpreters were provided for those not proficient in the English language. 

A variety of interactive activities helped demystify leadership for parents, enabling them to redefine themselves and see themselves as leaders. The curriculum consisted of the following topics:  Understanding Leadership, Active Listening, Critical Thinking, Communicating with Impact, Public Speaking, Participating in Meetings, and Action Planning. Attendees were engaged in a variety of interactive activities, getting them out of their comfort zones and exercising newly acquired/enhanced leadership skills such as maintaining eye contact, giving firm handshakes, practicing active listening, writing a speech, and public speaking. Decision- making activities took the form of a forced-choice exercise that required participants to examine all sides of an issue before making a decision.  Other activities gave each parent multiple opportunities to practice leadership skills.  Participants progressed from engaging with facilitators to engaging with peers.  On the second day, many parents who had never spoken in public before made speeches to an audience that included their peers and program staff.  Each speaker was awarded a “Shine the Light” lamp, commending them for their courage in speaking before the group. 

The training culminated with parents planning a project with their peers that would use their newly acquired skills.  Projects included taking on a new initiative at their center or advocating for a specific need.  Parents left the two-day training rejuvenated and full of vigor.  They recognized that they were now able to perform in a capacity they thought beyond them. 

Advanced leadership training followed, providing opportunities to explore new topics and meet participants who, like them, had chosen to take the lead and believe in themselves.  Advanced training reviewed Leadership Topics and Myths, Managing Stress, Healthy Relationships, Feeling and Looking Like a Leader, Public Speaking, and throwing out all the “I cant’s.”  On the second day, participants prepared and delivered a closing session.

North Carolina

The North Carolina Division of Social Services (NC DSS), the state lead agency for the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) program, prioritized family engagement and leadership in direct services, training, and systems development.  Community-based agencies that apply for CBCAP funds respond to the following questions in their applications:  What will meaningful parent engagement look like?  What incentives will be provided to support participation?  How will the program address barriers to client participation, such as transportation or childcare?  How will you recruit and maintain parent involvement?  How will the agency involve parents in your continuous quality improvement process? 

NC DSS grantees must also demonstrate how staff will work proactively with families who are isolated or need extra encouragement and support, drawing them into available social networks and activities.  NC DSS monitored parent engagement through quarterly reports. 

Family Support, Respite, and Community Response Programs engaged in parent leadership in the following ways:  Parents served on advisory committees and/or boards, accepted leadership roles in parent support groups, recruited and acted as mentors for new parents, trained as program/curriculum facilitators, volunteered for activities such as field trips and fundraisers, supported each other in social media groups, and shared their experiences participating in programs at both local and state levels.

NC DSS funded Circle of Parents programs in twenty counties and one American Indian reservation, including providing technical assistance that strengthened model fidelity, parent leadership, and father engagement.

Through the CBCAP grant, NC DSS contracted with Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina (PCANC) to provide training and technical assistance through the Prevention Action Network (PAN), a membership network that engages organizations and individuals through webinars and monthly newsletters.  Part of the PAN mission is to connect individuals and organizations across North Carolina who are working in prevention and those counties actively building Community Child Abuse Prevention Plans (CCAPP). Parents and grandparents are among those who participate in the Prevention Action Network Leadership Team. DSS and PCANC value the contributions of parent leaders by:

  • Offering in-person and online training on parent-led community education, relationship building, and the importance of research and evidence-based practice for program and policy development.
  • Providing information and resources to PAN members on effective parent/practitioner partnerships and best practices related to parent leadership.
  • Identifying and providing access to new curricula, readiness assessment tools, and training opportunities to support practitioners and parents in strengthening partnerships; and
  • Participating in the development of the Child Welfare Family Advisory Council.

North Carolina has continued to strengthen its Child Welfare Family Leadership Model, which promotes families’ involvement at the case practice, policy, and system levels based on family readiness. It ensures family voice informs child welfare decisions and that county and state family engagement and leadership efforts are aligned. Strengthening family involvement systemically helps North Carolina better prevent child abuse and neglect.  This model’s centerpiece is the Child Welfare Family Advisory Council (CWFAC) that has diverse representation, including biological, foster, and adoptive parents, kinship caregivers, and young adult foster care alumni.  Family Partners on the CWFAC participated in the ongoing planning, implementation, and evaluation of CBCAP programs.

North Dakota

North Dakota Children and Family Services Division, the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) state lead agency, ensures parents’ leadership in the ongoing planning, implementation, and evaluation of CBCAP programs.

The Parent and Family Resource Centers (PFRCs) funded through CBCAP, utilize parent involvement by encouraging leadership and ownership of the classes and support groups they are involved in. The centers do this by having parents; facilitate parent support groups, complete satisfaction surveys, chose parenting topics that interest them, be referral sources to other for parenting classes, contributing stories to parenting newsletters, and be representatives on the advisory boards of the centers.

Parent and Family Resource Centers are required to report on their activities to develop leadership roles for parents’ meaningful involvement in the development, operation, evaluation, and oversight of the programs and services funded through CBCAP. Parent leadership can be born out of an individual’s desire to assume a leadership role and/or out of encouragement from the group facilitator for parents to assume some parent leadership responsibilities.

Below is a summary from each Parent and Family Resource Center on what strategies they are using to develop meaningful roles for parents in the development, evaluation, operation, and oversight of the programs and services they offer.

Parent and Family Resource Center (Region II)

Parents complete a program evaluation/survey upon completion of a program.  The survey includes a “level of satisfaction” question.  Participants also complete a second questionnaire that invites them to provide suggestions for improvement, what was most relevant/helpful, ideas/needs for programs, and how they plan to implement the information provided in class. Parents serve on the NDSU Extension-Ward County Advisory Council.

The program evaluations/surveys indicate a high level of satisfaction with PFRC programming. Parents often assist with attendance sheets, technology, distributing handouts, and taking PFRC information to employment sites.  Parents provide insight into the types of programming that parents are needing. The Extension Advisory Council provides feedback and suggestions for agents/programs, including the PFRC. Parents residing at New Hope are asked each week to identify the type of information they are seeking. They also specify in what format they would like the information.


The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Family Support and Prevention Services is the lead agency responsible for administering the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) funds and provides oversight to the evidence-based home visiting programs.

A Parent Partnership Board (PPB), established eight years ago by the University of Oklahoma Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (OUHSC CCAN) as an advisory group for Oklahoma’s evidence-based home visiting programs, is a valuable resource for understanding the needs of parents of young children who are living in vulnerable circumstances.  Its mission is to support the development of healthy, thriving families by creating and promoting partnerships among parents, service staff, and researchers to help meet the challenges of parenting young children.  The PPB has 15 active members, including four fathers that form a sub-group focused on supporting fathers.

Comprised exclusively of parents, the group has been integral in the development of marketing and educational materials.  They influenced the design of the parentPRO logo and provided feedback about the parentPRO website.  They asked that certain features such as additional resources, parenting tips, coupons, and a calendar of activities be included in the website.

The Parent Partnership Board’s reputation in the community has grown.  They are considered a valuable voice for better understanding the needs of parents of young children living in vulnerable circumstances.  This year they have updated the parentPRO website and focused on providing mentorship.  The Board met monthly to focus on training about how to share their stories and opinions with others to guide important community projects and impact programs for families and early childhood programs. The mother’s and father’s subgroups of the PPB have assisted with developing and presenting qualitative interview guides to improve father engagement in home-based parenting programs and recruit fathers to participate in research for home-based parenting programs across the state.  PPB members have met with community groups and shared their voices at conferences. Through this work, they have provided input into planning for kinship care, quality childcare, early childhood education, and services for families involved in child welfare. Following the Circle of Parents philosophy of parent leadership, the PPB continues to support Child Development Specialists working with various high-risk populations such as those experiencing homelessness, as well as Hispanic and teen groups.  They are currently part of a community group developing a grant to enhance community collaboration to support families and prevent child abuse and neglect in high-risk metropolitan areas. 

South Dakota

The South Dakota Department of Social Services Division of Child Protection Services is the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) state lead agency designated to implement and monitor the specific activities and goals supported through CBCAP.

They continue to provide a platform for building parents’ leadership abilities and offering them opportunities to participate in the ongoing planning, implementation, and evaluation of the CBCAP Program. The South Dakota Parent Information and Resource Center collaborated with the Division of Child Protection Services in designing a Parent Leadership Program embedded into the structure of six Common Sense Parenting (CSP) classes. This program consists of six components:  Parents as Listeners, Parents as Communicators, Parents as Experts, Parents as Partners, Parents as Peace Makers, and Parents as Leaders.  Parents are provided with information and skills to develop and recognize their leadership potential.  The Leadership Curriculum and leadership questions are included in the Parent Outcome Survey. The Parenting Education Program provides ongoing support and technical assistance for the implementation of the Leadership Curriculum.

South Dakota involves a diverse representation of families in the design and evaluations of child abuse and neglect prevention programs and activities. The Parenting Program services involve individuals with diverse backgrounds, income levels, nationalities, and races. The leadership component is embedded in all the CSP classes so parents can learn how to be leaders in their homes and communities. The nine Native American Reservations are served. The prisons in Pierre, Yankton, Pine Ridge, and the Todd County Jail; schools; domestic violence centers; Head Start programs; and early childhood education programs are served. Parenting Education Partners let the general public know about the CSP classes in their areas, including numerous and varied child abuse prevention and fatherhood activities. Parents from all walks of life are served through the Common Protection Services (CPS) Program. 

Parenting Education Partners continue to obtain input from parents attending CSP classes. CSP participants complete the Parent Outcome Survey. The CSP instructors and Parenting Education Partners make improvements as written and suggested by the parents. The outcome data is derived from the survey and used to give Parenting Education Partners feedback at peer reviews. Suggestions for program improvements are implemented within the boundaries and guidelines required by Boys Town and the CSP Program. Parents provide leadership and guidance through comments and recommendations expressed on the Parent Outcome Survey. This information is used to generate data for reports and is a valuable tool for directing the program.

Parents enrolled in the CSP Program are asked to complete an evaluation before the Parenting Education Program Peer Reviews. During the evaluation, parents are asked if they would be interested in participating as a parent representative on the Advisory Board.  During the 2018-2019 peer reviews, parents from Pierre, Mitchell, Winner, Isabel, and Sioux Falls were invited to participate. The Parenting Education Program has found the parent evaluation and invitation to parents to attend the peer reviews are valuable ways to receive parent feedback. Parents are empowered when involved, and their leadership is affirmed. In South Dakota, the parent’s feedback is a guiding force in providing leadership to the program and is a valuable source of information for deciding what, if any, changes should be made.

Partnering with Child Welfare through Family First Prevention Services Act

Eight states tell how they are partnering with Child Welfare to implement the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). Each state’s experience, as reported in their 2018 – 2019 Annual CBCAP Report, is unique. The Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law on February 9, 2018. This act reforms the federal child welfare financing streams, Title IV-E, and Title IV-B of the Social Security Act to provide services to families at risk of entering the foster care system. CBCAP Leads are strongly encouraged to collaborate with their state’s child protection system to develop a plan for implementing FFPSA and build a continuum of prevention services for children and families that includes primary and secondary prevention.


Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), lead agency for the CBCAP program is home to five distinct offices, all of which support the agency’s vision and mission for Colorado. The most concentrated child maltreatment prevention and intervention work stems from, the Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF), home to the Division of Child Welfare (DCW) and the Office of Early Childhood (OEC), home to the Family Strengthening Unit (FS) formerly known as the Child Maltreatment Prevention Unit (CMP) that oversees the CBCAP program.

 Staff from the Colorado Office of Early Childhood, Family Strengthening Unit have been actively involved in Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) planning in Colorado through participation in the Implementation Committee, and several subcommittees (Prevention Services Continuum, Candidacy, Legislative, and Constituency workgroups.) Some of the activities that have led to successful collaboration include:

  • Staff from the Office of Children, Youth and Families- Division of Child Welfare, the Office of Early Childhood and the University of Denver, surveyed counties to understand where services rated by the Family First Clearinghouse as “promising”, “supported”, or “well-supported” are currently offered.
  • CBCAP staff have been involved in conversations about potential FFPSA evidence-based programs and how to potentially expand programs across the state utilizing Family First funds such as Parents as Teachers and SafeCare Colorado.
  • Staff from the Family Strengthening Unit have been actively involved in the Child Welfare Legislative task force to analyze laws and rules related to the delivery of Child Welfare Services to ensure alignment with FFPSA. Families First Bill SB 20-162 was an important step in allowing Colorado to implement FFPSA.
  • CDHS has developed an American Indian and Alaskan Native workgroup to ensure FFPSA programming is culturally responsive.
  • Parents and caregivers have been on the implementation team since the beginning of FFPSA Implementation Committee to ensure a family perspective is embedded in the decision-making process.
  • CDHS has developed a Families First digest to communicate with community members, families, and practitioners in various fields across the state about decisions made and next steps related to FFPSA – for more information: https://co4kids.org/familyfirst.

The Federal FFPSA Act will allow Colorado to reshape child welfare and provide more prevention services to help ensure families have the support and resources that allow children and youth to grow up in their own home.

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), the District’s Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) State Lead Agency (SLA), leads child maltreatment prevention activities on the state and local levels. CFSA’s mission is to improve the safety, permanence, and well-being of abused and neglected children in the District of Columbia and to strengthen their families. CFSA seeks to meet the needs of the respective primary, secondary, and tertiary target populations with a comprehensive array of prevention programs and services.

The staff who serve in the CBCAP SLA role also lead Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) implementation, so the CBCAP SLA is intricately involved.  FFSPA has provided the opportunity for CFSA under the leadership of the SLA and with CBCAP and child welfare partners to firmly knit together the child and family supports and services continuum so that it seamlessly goes from primary prevention strategies, to supports to families at risk, to supporting system-involved families to build protective factors and reduce the risk of placement, to making out-of-home placements when they are necessary, and bringing children to permanency through adoption when reunification is not possible.  They conceptualized the prevention continuum as being Front Yard, Front Porch, or Front Door – with the latter being a pillar in the CFSA’s Strategic Framework for child welfare. 

Table 1

CFSA established an Upstream/Primary prevention sub-group to tackle the important decisions around investments in primary prevention and how to best allocate the District’s available CBCAP funds.  This coincided with the work of the Prevention Work Group. CFSA leveraged the opportunity to engage a city-wide Prevention Work Group to make recommendations about critical services needed to support and strengthen children and families across the District. The Upstream/Primary Prevention subgroup met from June – September 2018 to make recommendations for a target population and services to implement in FY19. These recommendations served as the foundation for FY 2019 CBCAP services and programming.

Table 2

Family First Prevention Work Group – Upstream/Primary Prevention Subgroup: Evidence-Based Intervention Recommendations

The work of moving from vision to reality has been an ongoing continuous quality improvement focus to assure that the infrastructure being established continues to mean positive outcomes for all families involved.  The Prevention Subgroup reflects on their work at least quarterly to evaluate progress and consider adjustments if indicated.  CFSA used the opportunity of the FFPSA to integrate primary and secondary prevention to establish a structure that charts a sustainable course for the future for the children and families of DC. 

CFSA’s historic and active role in leading city-wide prevention efforts is designed to strengthen families and move more local resources upstream by leveraging Family First and other federal funds to provide agency- involved families with critical services. The District’s continuum of family-centered, holistic, prevention services for children and families at the front door, front porch and front yard, blend local and federal resources to contract services with private agencies, non-profit organizations and sister agencies to serve families at home and in their communities. For more information visit: DC CFSA Family First Prevention Plan | cfsa.


The CBCAP State Lead Agency (SLA) is the Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children Services. Within the Division, the Prevention and Community Support (PCS) Section takes the lead role for CBCAP.  PCS prides itself on its capacity to partner with state and local agencies and providers to fund sustainable evidence-based, best practice programs, and services that have a lasting impact on children and families in communities throughout Georgia.

In the initial planning stages of implementing Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA),  the  Director of the Prevention and Community Support Section of the Division of Family and Children Services has been involved in the Division’s FFPSA planning workgroup as co-chair of the Service Array Subcommittee with the Well-Being Director to frame the initial service array that may be offered in Georgia through the implementation of FFPSA. She was also a member of an initial internal workgroup, followed by an external interagency multi-stakeholder workgroup that helped determine the definition of candidacy for FFPSA in Georgia. Additionally, she was also a member of the FFPSA Pilot Workgroup, as Georgia implemented an FFPSA pilot program in two counties last year.

The CBCAP SLA had a productive collaborative working relationship with the FFPSA Director within the Division. The SLA was involved in all the FFPSA implementation efforts and ensured prevention was represented at the table during the state’s FFPSA planning efforts. A key part of this work was several conversations about where FFPSA falls on the prevention continuum. The FFPSA Director acknowledged early on that educating people on the prevention continuum, highlighting the more upstream prevention efforts coordinated by the SLA, and the tertiary prevention that FFPSA would facilitate. The SLA and FFSPA Director did a joint presentation on the continuum – including upstream prevention, the Child Abuse and Neglect State Plan, and FFPSA implementation at Georgia’s annual Child Welfare Summit last year. Additionally, each presented at each other’s respective meetings to discuss the work.

Georgia has just enlisted the assistance of Chapin Hall for the remaining implementation of FFPSA efforts. The ongoing role in this effort of the SLA will be determined in November of 2020. 


The Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund (the Cabinet) serves as the CBCAP State Lead Agency (SLA). The Cabinet has been very involved in an Interagency Advisory Board that was originally established for the planning and implementation of FFSPA but has broadened its focus from solely FFSPA to look at cross-sector integration and system alignment across all agencies serving children and families.  These agencies formed an Interagency Advisory Board and cross-walked 10 state plans of board member agencies to identify intersections.  In addition to the statewide advisory board, there are also regional boards that are looking at the local implementation of these plans and other pieces of system integration.  The SLA has been assuring that CBCAP grantees are invited to sit on these regional boards. The Executive Director of the SLA has been a leader of the statewide work in identifying these cross-sector opportunities.  CBCAP and the Cabinet’s early-childhood work has a proven track record in integrating aligned work and so it has served as a model for the broader state integration efforts of FFSPA. 


The Montana Children’s Trust Fund (MT CTF), CBCAP State Lead Agency has been involved in the state’s planning for the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) implementation since the fall of 2018. In response to FFPSA, the Montana Legislature passed legislation, House Bill 604,  requiring the Department of Public Health and Human Services (of which the MT CTF is administered by) to create a strategic plan to develop and expand prevention programs. A project manager was hired by Child and Family Services Division to lead the effort. The MT CTF has been involved in developing this plan with other Division of Public Health and Human Services personnel whose work is also focused on prevention and to discuss the components of a compliant FFPSA plan.  


Prevention Services Subcommittee, which was tasked with presenting recommendations to the larger group about how to implement the prevention services requirements of the legislation. As part of this effort, OCTF staff co-chaired the In-Home Parenting Skills Based Services workgroup, which is one of three workgroups that were formed from the prevention services subcommittee. This workgroup was tasked with reviewing and recommending evidence-based programs (EBPs) that provide in-home parenting skills and have evidence for preventing child abuse and neglect. The OCTF led the workgroup through a process to apply the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework™ as a means of identifying evidence-based programs with the needs of Ohio’s families and children to keep children safe with their families whenever possible and Ohio’s capacity to implement the recommended programs.

In October 2019, the OCTF also participated in a multi-day retreat facilitated by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP). Participants included representatives from across Ohio’s public and community-based agencies, including but not limited to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), county Public Children Service Agencies (PCSAs), the Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO), Ohio Children’s Trust Fund (OCTF), the Department of Youth Services (DYS), the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), the Ohio Department of Medicaid, and community-based mental health providers. The key takeaways, recommendations, and next steps that resulted from this retreat included:

  • Recommendations for Candidacy and EBPs in Ohio’s Title IV-E Prevention Plan
  • Building a Prevention Continuum
  • Pathway for Prevention Services Track

At this retreat, the OCTF presented the work completed over the summer of 2019 for the In-Home Parenting Skill-Based Program workgroup. Other recommendations from each Prevention Subcommittee workgroup were shared and discussed, and final recommendations were made collectively by the attendees at this retreat. These final recommendations were shared with the full FFPSA Leadership Committee. For more information: https://jfs.ohio.gov/ocf/Family-First.stm

As the state of Ohio begins preparing for FFPSA implementation, the OCTF has been frequently asked to provide input pertaining to Ohio’s current capacity to deliver several EBPs as they relate to in-home parenting skills-based services. The OCTF has historically funded both the provision of direct services, as well as capacity building for these services, through training providers across the state in numerous EBP models.

Furthermore, utilizing CBCAP funding, the OCTF released a competitive opportunity to their regional partners to expand EBPs in Ohio that align with the services considered as part of Ohio’s Title IV-E Prevention Plan, as they relate to parenting programs. Through their funding and partnership, the OCTF is increasing Ohio’s capacity to serve more families throughout the continuum of care for all levels of prevention – primary, secondary, and tertiary.


The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) is the state agency for child welfare services and the designated CBCAP State Lead Agency (SLA). VDSS works collaboratively with the Office of Children Services, Department of Medical Assistance Services, and Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services in aligning services and practices with Virginia’s Behavioral Health Redesign to ensure that all families have access to high quality evidence-based and trauma-informed services. 

During 2018-19, The VDSS Leadership, including the Family Services Director and CBCAP State Lead, participated in joint planning with Virginia’s Court Improvement Program (CIP). While the focus of these joint efforts is primarily dedicated to moving children through the foster care system to permanency more quickly, joint collaborative work has been focused on the continuum of child welfare services and to better partner to improve the outcomes for children and families involved jointly with child welfare and the courts. This includes preventing children from entering the foster care system by ensuring quality representation for the children and families, integrating trauma-informed care, quality court hearings, and expanding the Best Practice Courts teams throughout the state. Additionally, as related to the implementation of Family First, Virginia is examining all prevention activities, including those funded by the CBCAP, TANF, and Virginia’s Children’s Services Act (CSA).

Collaboration: The Prevention Advisory Committee

The Prevention Advisory Committee continues to convene to provide an ongoing opportunity for collaboration, feedback, and evaluation. The committee is comprised of state staff, community partners, and representatives from LDSS. The Prevention Advisory Committee seeks to meet quarterly to provide input to the Prevention Services Program on legislation, regulations, guidance, and practice. This input includes all prevention continuum areas and focuses on early prevention, foster care prevention, kinship diversion, trauma-informed practice, and Reasonable Candidacy for Foster Care. The committee served an integral role in the development of the newly revised Prevention Services guidance and will continue its focus on the following areas: integration of Family First Prevention Services Act implementation efforts; developing the capacity to capture and analyze the impact of prevention and kinship diversion efforts in our child welfare information system; exploring funding needs, including how to realign current prevention funding sources (e.g., Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF)) and identify additional funding sources; and establishing core competencies and identify additional training needs.

Moving forward, the Prevention Services program will play an integral role in targeting resources and services that prevent foster care placements and help children remain safely in their homes or with relatives when appropriate. This In-Home services work is achieved by engaging the family, family-driven decision-making, the family’s support system, and other service providers. VDSS acknowledges that children and families will benefit from LDSS receiving additional guidance, training, and resources to support quality and uniform practice in preventing foster care. In-Home services work with children at high, or very high risk requires a skill set that focuses on family engagement, identifying individualized needs, creating and monitoring service plans and progress with families, while continually assessing safety, risk, and enhancing protective factors. Attention to In-Home case practice at both the supervisor and worker levels is needed to create consistency in practice. The development of this framework is aligned with VDSS’s broader strategic efforts, which reflects the key priorities in child welfare such as the Child and Family Services Plan (CFSP), Child and Family Services Review (CFSR)/Program Improvement Plan (PIP), and the Family First.

The Prevention Services program will engage the prevention advisory committee and other LDSS groups through a continuous quality improvement (CQI) process to assess the implementation of Family First to ensure implementation meets the needs of our child welfare system. Through the CQI process, the Prevention Services program, through feedback with other LDSS groups, will make recommendations for continued phases of implementation, particularly for service provision of evidence-based services and additional supports within local communities through CBCAP funding.

Three Branch Model

In addition to establishing partnerships and collaborations and hosting stakeholder meetings, VDSS has also utilized a Three Branch model to support collaborative implementation efforts. This model is based on the National Governor’s Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, and Casey Family Programs’ Three Branch Institute, which began in 2009. Virginia has been a participant in three previous Three Branch Institutes, with significant success in improving the child welfare system. The Three Branch model is a collaborative team composed of representatives from state, legislative, and court leadership and several state- and community-based agencies that respond to the needs of children and families, redefining the responsibility of child welfare to all agencies that serve children and families. The Three Branch model serves as a successful leadership group to enact legislative, financial, and policy changes to improve the child welfare system.

VDSS’ goals for the Three Branch model include using data to improve decision-making and ensure services provided are informed by outcomes; promoting reliable, accurate, transparent, and timely two-way communication among stakeholders throughout the implementation of Family First; acknowledging that true transformation will take time, and implementation will continually be monitored and updated to meet emerging needs; and collaborating and partnering with systems across the state as the key to the successful implementation of Family First.

The Family First Prevention Services will allow VDSS to provide enhanced support to children and families and prevent foster care placements by providing mental health treatment services and substance abuse prevention and treatment services; in-home, skill-based parenting programs; and Kinship Navigator services.

Virginia has a current implementation date of January 2021 for Family First. It is actively assessing this date’s feasibility due to the impact of COVID-19 and the removal of dedicated funding from the amended state budget. They anticipate that a final recommendation will be made by our Secretary of Health and Human Resources regarding an extended implementation date of July 2021.

Nevertheless, VDSS continues to assess the services that are approved for title IV-E funding on the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse and the identified needs in Virginia (e.g., home visiting and substance use disorder services).

Virginia’s state planning efforts will continue to ensure alignment between those programs funded through CBCAP efforts and the overall movement in Virginia toward evidence-based practice and programming.


The CBCAP State Lead Agency (SLA) is the Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). Within DCYF, the Strengthening Families Washington Team sits within the Family Support Programs Division and serves as the child abuse prevention arm by building partnerships at the local, state, and national levels to strengthen families in Washington state.  This team leads the following bodies of work:

  • Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP)
  • Children’s Trust Fund
  • Home Visiting Services Account
  • Prevention Child Abuse America, Washington State Chapter

The CBCAP team is involved in the implementation of the Family First Prevention and Services Act (FFPSA). Prevention planning has been underway for DCYF and included several key Strengthening Families team members. After months of planning, DCYF submitted the FFPSA Prevention plan in December 2019. The plan proposed 10 programs that will be available for candidacy groups that meet the FFPSA guidelines for in-home parenting, substance use, or mental health. The 10 programs identified in the FFPSA prevention plan include three programs currently funded by the Home Visiting Services Account (HVSA), including Parents as Teachers, Nurse-Family Partnership, and Child-Parent Psychotherapy. Additionally, the Washington State legislature expressed interest in the opportunity to expand home visiting services to FFPSA candidate populations and required DCYF to develop and submit to the legislature about the feasibility of claiming Title IV-E funds for home visiting within the next biennia. The legislative report is forthcoming. WA state just received the approval of the Prevention Plan.

The CBCAP SLA had participated in the workgroups to develop the prevention plan and now the work will move into implementation.  The Strengthening Families WA Administrator co-facilitates the Evidence-Based Practices (EBP) group to build agency capacity to implement evidence-based practices.  SLA staff also serve on the WA State Innovative Dependency Court Collaborative that is an implementation group for FFPSA and the Court Improvement Plan.

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