Welfare and Child Welfare Collaboration

Welfare and Child Welfare Collaboration

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Within departments of social services, child welfare and income assistance programs are typically separate administrative units. Coordinating services for dual-system families across these program areas has been encouraged in the wake of welfare reform and its more stringent time frames in combination with child welfare legislation that places time limits on permanency decisions for children placed out of the home. Many of the barriers to self-sufficiency faced by clients involved with Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) are also implicated in difficulties with parenting. Cross-system collaboration between these two programs is challenging, and attributing client outcomes to collaboration is difficult due to the huge number of variables involved and the considerable variety in collaborative structures. What works for whom, how and in what contexts is poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to describe the extent and nature of collaboration between child welfare and TANF programs within Colorado county departments of human/social services. Data were collected from county departments of human/social services directors for all 64 Colorado counties and a purposive sample of 38 administrators responsible for child welfare and Colorado Works programs within the county departments. Protocols for identifying clients with open cases or needs in both programs were described, as well as the extent of services coordination. Collaboration between these services also occurred via specialized programs or teams that blended resources and targeted specific client groups. TANF funding was an important resource for these programs and teams that were often described as oriented toward early intervention and prevention. Supports and barriers to cross-system collaboration included federal and state level influences, agency leadership and culture, staff workload, training and resources. The perceived overlap in needs of clients accessing both programs was sizable; the estimate of clients with cases open in both programs was higher in the smaller, poorer counties. Addressing the cross-system information needs of staff did not often happen in a deliberate, systematic way. State level leadership is likely important to successful collaborative efforts via explication of effective models and policies that support it.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families and Administration on Children Youth and Families, and The National Center on Child ... Chicago: Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. ... Child protective intervention in the context of welfare reform: The effects of work and welfare on maltreatment reports. ... Social Services Review, 81 (2), 207-228.

Title:Welfare and Child Welfare Collaboration
Author:Susan L. Tungate
Publisher:ProQuest - 2008


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