2004 Jordan Institute
9, No. 3
and Collaboration between Work First and Child Welfare
It is not hard to see
why collaboration between Work First and child welfare programs is a key
strategy of the Multiple Response System (MRS), North Carolinas
effort to enhance its child welfare system. Especially when used in combination
with other MRS strategies, Work First/child welfare collaboration can
make an agencys response to families more family-centered and effective.
- Family Assessment Response.
Work First/child welfare collaboration fits naturally with MRSs
second strategy, the family assessment response. This strategy gives
MRS counties the opportunity to respond to some child maltreatment reports
with a less adversarial approach, one that looks at the family holistically.
As part of this response, agencies often try to front-load a wide range
of services to families to meet their needs, reduce their stress, and
increase child safety. A closer working relationship with economic services
programs is a key element to this effort.
- Child and Family Team
Meetings (CFTs). Kara Allen-Eckard, a trainer with NC State Universitys
Family-Centered Meetings Project, says including Work First staff in
CFTs benefits everyone: It helps get rid of infighting and makes
paperwork better for Work First, the family, and child welfare case
managers. It also creates cross-pollination and education between programs.
She advises: Invite Work First to CFTs as often as possible so
they experience it as the powerfully collaborative, joint process it
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