The Center seeks to strengthen families and communities by facilitating the transformation of Los Angeles County’s child welfare system into a 21st century child and family well-being system.
A 21st century child and family well-being system redefines child safety through an equity lens and recognizes that the conditions that bring families into contact with government systems are both shaped and held in place by a complex confluence of structural discrimination and social determinants of health.
Los Angeles County’s transformation into a system that prioritizes child and family well-being can only be achieved through robust, public-private-community partnerships and investments in efforts designed to improve life outcomes for children and their families at every point along the service delivery continuum, including:
- Preventing maltreatment and unnecessary systems involvement
- Ensuring high-quality, culturally competent care for children who must be removed from their homes
- Supporting transition-age youth as they exit the system
- Helping to restore intact families with effective aftercare services
Child and family well-being in the news:
- Changing Lives: A Foster Youth Averts the Housing Cliff (Los Angeles County Newsroom)
Center team leads: Rochelle Alley, Dr. Tamara Hunter and Lisa Watson
In response to a critical shortage of foster homes in Los Angeles County, the Center, First 5 LA, the Department of Children and Family Services and The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation launched Foster Together Network (FTN) in 2017. FTN is a collective impact effort to increase the number of quality foster homes and ensure children receive the nurturing care they need. Today, FTN has grown to also include numerous foster family agencies, philanthropic organizations, recruitment and quality-focused nonprofits, community leaders, faith-based partners, and the L.A. County Departments of Mental Health and Probation. It has launched influential pilot programs, worked to improve County data systems, and continues to deepen collaboration across sectors to improve the quality of care for children in foster care.
ANTELOPE VALLEY RESOURCE INFUSION
The Antelope Valley Resource Infusion (AVRI) is a collaborative effort to improve the community safety net and maximize child and family well-being in the Antelope Valley (AV). AVRI is engaging the community in the creation of a shared agenda to develop system improvements and a robust network of supports that will ensure children and families in the AV are not only safe and healthy, but that they can thrive.
Co-convened by the Center and Southern California Grantmakers, the Child and Family Well-Being Funders Collaborative brings together philanthropic organizations that fund child welfare initiatives with public sector partners to learn about matters impacting L.A. County’s child welfare system and promising initiatives; promote networking and relationship building; and identify opportunities for philanthropic impact on joint initiatives that aim to improve outcomes for children and their families.
L.A. COUNTY FAITH-IN-MOTION
In 2018, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directed the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the Center to engage stakeholders in the development of a countywide framework for faith-based engagement in support of vulnerable children, youth, and families. L.A. County Faith-in-Motion is a countywide strategic plan to cultivate and nurture DCFS and faith-based partnerships for maximum impact. A core component of the model is the L.A. County Faith Collaborative, which brings together a broad coalition of public, private, community, and faith-based partners for shared learning, strategic action, and stewardship of the L.A. County Faith-in-Motion framework.
Since 2018, the Center has supported DCFS’s participation in the One Roof Los Angeles (One Roof L.A.) initiative, a County-wide effort to establish collaboration between child welfare and supportive housing in Los Angeles. Through One Roof, DCFS has been able to build stronger collaboration across County departments to provide more comprehensive housing support to families and transition-age youth (TAY) in the child welfare system. With the Center’s continued support, DCFS has recently created a Supportive Housing Division that will work to reduce the number of child welfare-involved families and youth entering homelessness, rapidly support families and TAY who are currently homeless and help them secure housing and streamline homeless prevention services in collaboration with other L.A. County partners.
The Center plays a lead role in infusing philanthropic wisdom, investment, and leadership in the expansion and evolution of the County’s home visiting system. We arrange and oversee philanthropic sponsorship of consultants to support the County’s system planning, including the development of an e-Directory to improve navigation into services and investments to teach domestic violence prevention skills to the home visiting workforce. The Center hosts semi-annual briefings for funders regarding opportunities to support technology needs, workforce strengthening, COVID response, and more.
The Center for Strategic Partnerships brings together funders who aim to spur innovation and improve effectiveness in policy and practice LA’s public sector. By aggregating seed funding, CSP plays a critical role in jump-starting new County initiatives to support children and families that might have otherwise taken years to develop.
As the Director of a county child welfare agency, I readily acknowledge that the government doesn’t have all of the solutions or answers to the issues facing our children and families. That said, I believe public-private partnerships are critical to government in order to make real, sustainable improvements that enhance the quality of life.
The Center for Strategic Partnerships is an invaluable partner. I’ve run child welfare agencies in three different states and it is an amazing luxury to work with an organization that not only has a profound understanding of the challenges faced by the foster care system, but also knows who in the philanthropic community can help.