"We're connecting science to programs, data to decisions, and research to practice. And most importantly, we're connecting children in foster care to the resources and relationships they need to be successful."
Comissioner Bryan Samuels
Administration on Children, Youth, and Families
California Partners for Permanency is a new federally funded project to reduce the number of children in long-term foster care. It is one of six projects in the country funded through a $100 million Presidential Initiative.
The California effort focuses on African American and Native American children who are over-represented in the state's child welfare system and for whom it has been most challenging to find loving and permanent homes. Project goals are to both reduce long-term foster care and improve child well-being. The way in which this will be accomplished is through a comprehensive approach to child welfare systems change.
Over the course of five years and with $14.5 million in federal funding, California Partners for Permanency (CAPP) will:
- Conduct an analysis of local child welfare systems to better understand the barriers to permanency and inform solutions to reduce long term foster care;
- Develop a Child and Family Practice Model that builds on existing permanency practices;
- Refine, test and evaluate the approach in four California counties, and then;
- Replicate the approach in 10 more counties statewide and develop a plan to spread statewide.
At the project's completion, the goal is to have implemented changes in child welfare systems so that there are not only fewer children and youth in long-term foster care, but also fewer entries into foster care in the first place.
Helping children and youth stay connected with family members and others who can love and care for them is a critical part of the solution.
The longer that children stay in the foster care system - without the support of loving and permanent families - the more likely it is they will face negative outcomes.
Foster children and youth struggle in school (less than half graduate), and most face mental health and other challenges given the trauma and abuse in their young lives. Too many youth age out of care at 18 into a future that includes unemployment, homelessness and incarceration.
Data provide a telling overview of the disproportionate impact on African American and Native American children:
- More than half (54 percent) of African American children in California's foster care system have been in care for more than two years, and sadly, more than 30 percent have been in the system for more than five years.
- Nearly half (45 percent) of Native American children in California's foster care system have been in care for more than two years.
Two overall outcomes guide California Partners for Permanency:
Reducing Long-term Foster Care
The first desired project outcome is to reduce long-term foster care specifically among African American and Native American children, youth and families. Objectives include a reduction in the number of foster care entries, increased timelines of permanent placement, removal of identified barriers to permanency planning and the removal of negative incentives to adoption.
Improving Child Well-being
The second desired project outcome is to improve child well-being specifically among African American and Native American children, youth and families. Objectives includes the creation of an integrated system of services that includes substance abuse treatment for parents; improved behavioral health for children by creating an integrated system of services that recognizes the impact of loss, grief and trauma; a reduction in the number of children in foster care who exit into the criminal justice system; and improved educational outcomes.
CAPP is reaching out to parents, youth, caregivers, communities and tribes to learn from those who have first-hand experiences with the child welfare system. Their expertise is assisting CAPP in understanding how the day-to-day actions and interactions of child welfare and other systems serving children and families should change so that all children remain connected to their families and to cultural, community and tribal supports. CAPP is working to create and implement practices and policies that:
- Understand, engage and value the strengths and resources of families and their supportive communities and tribes.
- Make available and support the use of culturally-based and trauma-informed support services to address the specific needs of children and their families.
Broad Outreach and Input Continues to Evolve
Outreach to and engagement of state and local stakeholders is a central focus of CAPP's work as it develops and refines the Child and Family Practice Model and prepares to test the model in early implementing counties. Local and state CAPP partnerships continue to evolve. The passion and dedication of many continue to inform CAPP's work, including:
- Early Implementing CAPP Counties (Fresno, Humboldt, Los Angeles, Santa Clara)
- Other California Counties
- Members of Tribal Communities
- Members of African American Communities
- Birth Parents, Youth and Other Family Members
- Relative and Foster Parent Caregivers
- Educators, Behavioral Health Preactitioners, Community-Based Providers and Probation Oficers
- State and County Child Welfare Leadership and Staff
- State and County Court Systems including Judges, Attorneys and County Counsel
- Child Advocates and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
- Philanthropic Organizations
- Social Work Curriculum Developers, Trainers and Coaches
- Policymakers, Advocates and Organizations
- Child Welfare Researchers and Evaluators
- Federal Technical Assistance
Key elements of the project include:
An analysis of local child welfare systems is being conducted to better understand and address the barriers to permanency for children and families and inform solutions to reduce long-term foster care.
Development of Child and Family Practice Model
A Child and Family Practice Model is being developed to be utilized by social workers in their day-to-day work that partners with families, communities and trives in understanding and meeting the needs of their children.
The approach will be refinied, tested and evaluated in the four early implementing California counties.
The approach will be replicated in other California counties and a plan will be developed to spread statewide.
Fiscal and Reinvestment Strategies
Fiscal strategies is being developed and implemented to support implementation of the refined practice model.
The Child and Family Practice Model
The CAPP Child and Family Practice Model is a guide for public agencies and their partners to follow in reducing long-term foster care and improving the lives of children, youth and families in the Child Welfare System.
The model includes four elements that must come together for the model to be effective:
- Theoretical framework that provides the foundation for the model.
- Guiding values and principles for all actions.
- Front line practice approach that informs and guides all interaction with children and families.
- Development of organizational and system capacity to support the changes that are sought through the model.
CAPP Child and Family Practice Model Overview - This document provides an update on the CAPP work to date with a focus on the activities associated with the development and implementation of the Practice Model.
CAPP's Child and Family Practice Model Packet - This Packet includes various practice model materials and together summarizes the practice model and how it is envisioned to work including:
CAPP Overview - This is a summary description of California Partners for Permanency's effort, including our long-term goals, the overarching activities and our approach to working in partnership to reduce long term foster care.
CAPP Talking Points - Short resource document summarizing information about California Partners for Permanency.
Re-CAPP - Re-CAPP is a bimonthly bulletin intended to provide updates and key information about CAPP and its collaborative work to reduce long-term foster care.
- January 2012 - "The Art and Science of Improving Outcomes: Using Implementation Science to Reduce Long Term Foster Care" [pdf]
- September 2012 - "The Story of CAPP: Building Partnerships and Strengthening Practice" [pdf]
- Spring/Summer 2013 - "Implementation has Begun! We're Getting Started and Getting Better"
- Spring/Summer 2014 - "The Journey to Outcomes: From Partnership to Evaluation"
- CAPP Child and Family Practice Model At a Glance - a short narrative description of the practice model.
- CAPP Child and Family Practice Model Schematic - a graphic depiction of how the practice model is envisioned to work.
- CAPP Theoretical Framework - a summary of conceptual approach for practice model.
- CAPP Practice Behaviors - a full description of actions for social workers and agency staff to use in implementing the Practice Model organized by Lean In, Lift Up and Connect to Culture.
- Summary of Building Blocks for Agencies and organizations to support implementation of the Practice Model.
- Parent Caregiver Survey FAQ - CAPP's Evaluation Team developed the Parent Caregiver Surveys as tools to help us understand the experiences of the families served through the practice model. This FAQ poses questions and provides answers regarding the surveys' development, their intended use and the data they will yield.
- CAPP PII-ET Timeline - A graphic representation of the evaluation activities for year 5 and the no-cost extension period of the CAPP grant.
- Survey Study Process - The evaluation of the CAPP practice model is a complex and complicated process that will be conducted in many phases over a number of months and perhaps years. This document outlines the initial phases of the PII-CAPP efforts to capture information regarding parent and guardian experiences through the study of the survey instruments as well as the administration process.
- Fidelity Matters - This document explains the relationship between fidelity and outcomes and why - Fidelity Matters!
Fidelity Assessment Overview - This two-page overview provides answers to the frequently asked questions about Fidelity Assessment, including: What is it?, Why we do it? and What will we learn?
Implementation Science Backgrounder - A two-page overview that provides background on implementation science and the role it plays in CAPP and its development and implementation of a new Child and Family Practice Model.
Systemic Issues Guiding CAPP - This document describes how the CAPP Child and Family Practice Model and the four front line practice approaches address the systemic issues in optimal permanency outcomes for children and families. The document also describes the building blocks for successful partnership implementation.
Transformational Leadership - This document provides an overview of the critical role leadership plays in the implementation organized by Lean In, Lift Up and Connect to Culture.
- Partnership, Culture, Humility - Short resource document that describes CAPP's central themes
- Formative Evaluation Overview - This document provides a summary of the first Formative Evaluation CAPP underwent in 2014.
Conference Articles and Presentations
- Community Partnering in Real Time, All the Time: The New Norm for Getting to Social Impact. - This document was created for the 2015 Global Implementation Conference and details how CAPP's side-by-side approach to community partnerships is addressing institutional racism and trauma in public child welfare.
- The Journey Toward Fidelity - These materials were created for the Global Implementation Conference and include a small poster that maps our journey and the handout that is a companion piece which provides information about the key signposts along the way.
- Journey Toward Fidelity Poster [pdf]
- Journey Toward Fidelity Handout [pdf]
- California Partners for Permanency: A Comprehensive and Culturally Responsive Approach to Practice and System Level Change - This article, from the Spring 2013 issue of Northern California Training Academy's publication "Reaching Out," outlines the four front line practice approaches and how they address the key systemic issues in optimal permanency outcomes for children and families.
CAPP Implementation Plan (Version 1.0) - Working document that summarizes CAPP's proposed plan for reducing long-term foster care in California, including the collaborative development and implementation of a new Child and Family Practice Model that can be implemented by Child Welfare and partner agency systems. The plan is intended as a guide and will be revised in partnership with CAPP Federal Technical Assistance partners and the Children's Bureau as new information is learned and the model is tested, evaluated and refined.
Insights, African American and Native American Children and Youth Overrepresented in Child Welfare System - This resource document provides an overview of the disproportional representation of African American and Native America children in California's foster care system. Insights is published by the California Child Welfare Co-Investment Partnership.
Permanency Innovations Initiative Kickoff Meeting (Nov. 2010) - PowerPoint Presentation by Commissioner Bryan Samuels at Administration for Children and Families' orientation for new grantees as new Presidential Initiative to reduce long-term foster care is formally launched.
CDSS Press Release (Oct. 2010) - Press release from the California Department of Social Services announcing $14.5 federal grant from the Administration for Children and Families to reduce long-term foster care in the state.
Federal Grant Application (Aug. 2010) - California's application to the Administration for Children and Families to participate in a Presidential Initiative to reduce long-term foster care. The $100 million Initiative provides funding and technical assistance to six projects across the nation. California's application was submitted by the California Department of Services in partnership with a diverse group of organizations and stakeholders.
To learn more about California Partners for Permanency, contact Karen Gunderson, Project Director, at the California Department of Social Services (firstname.lastname@example.org or 916.651.7395).
To learn more about the work underway in CAPP's four early implementing counties, contact these CAPP Project Managers:
California Partners for permanency is funded by the Children's Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under grant number 90-CT-0153.