26, No. 1
The Unified Leadership Team
A County/State Partnership to Guide Child Welfare Transformation
Child welfare transformation in North Carolina aims to create a culturally competent, trauma-informed, family-centered, and safety-focused child welfare system in North Carolina. We want to consistently meet outcomes related to safety, permanency, and well-being of children and to build and support a stable, effective child welfare workforce in our state.
The Unified Leadership Team (ULT) is responsible for providing guidance and direction to help us sequence and achieve these goals. To learn more about this important stakeholder group, we spoke with Heather Skeens, Director of Guilford County Department of Social Services and Co-Chair of the ULT.
As we think you will agree after reading the exchange below, the ULT is an exciting demonstration of state and county partnership. It reminds us of the importance of partnership between the child welfare system and its stakeholders, and also between social workers and families. With the ULT at the helm of child welfare transformation, we are confident North Carolina's child welfare system will continue to improve.
Interview with ULT Co-Chair Heather Skeens
What is the Unified Leadership Team?
What is the vision and purpose of the ULT?
Who is on the ULT and why is this composition important?
The membership of the ULT was carefully selected. We wanted to create true, equal partnership between state and county leaders who would guide child welfare work in our state. We wanted people on the team who have the authority to make major decisions for our child welfare system, and we are committed to working together to make these choices. I co-chair the ULT with Lisa Cauley.
What would you say to our readers about child welfare transformation?
To our stakeholders, I'd say: all agencies and organizations that provide services to children will be impacted by child welfare transformation. We can't protect children without you--it takes a village and a community. Please join us in making our system better. While we have differences, we can all agree to one common goal: children should be safe, protected, and in stable homes. The decisions we all make should begin with this end in mind.
Are there any other messages the ULT would like to communicate?
Community partners, we ask that you continue to walk with us, to ask questions, and to expect excellent customer service. Be patient with us as we continue to navigate these challenges, while ensuring children are safe and protected.