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Building a 21st Century Road Map to Child Welfare Transformation


  • There is growing recognition that our nation’s child welfare system—currently focused on protection—must substantially shift to prevention.
  • Abt partnered with Casey Family Programs to create a systems-focused roadmap to build child and family well-being for children prenatal to age 3.
  • Abt used evidence-based engagement approaches, advanced language processing.
The Challenge

For far too long, the child welfare system has been designed to be reactive, where caseworkers respond after child maltreatment and other adverse childhood experiences have occurred, with the primary intervention being removal from the home. For young children in particular, the links between racial inequity, poverty, health, housing, and involvement with the child welfare system are profound. Because of this, there is growing recognition that our nation’s child welfare system—currently focused on protection—must substantially shift to prevention.

Casey Family Programs (CFP) has been at the forefront of efforts to redesign child welfare through the Thriving Families Safer Children (TFSC) initiative and addressing inequities in the system. This initiative requires transforming child welfare to a proactive system that promotes the well-being of children and families and the communities in which they live, play, learn, work, and grow.

CFP engaged Abt Associates to support and advance the TFSC initiative through strategic advising and the use of innovative tools in high-priority strategic areas, including a roadmap for a child and family well-being system focused on children from the prenatal period to age 3 (PN-3).

The Approach

Abt used an innovative approach called Accelerated Automated Search, which used automated tools to search for literature and data and then combined this information with the voices of lived experience and subject matter experts. This approach generated knowledge about what is known and not known about creating a PN-3 child and family well-being system.

The Results

Abt’s roadmap for creating and enacting a child and family well-being system that’s focused on PN-3. The roadmap includes literature and resources that are aligned with and support the following goals:

  • Advance equity collaboratively.
  • Co-create equitable systems design.
  • Co-construct community conditions.
  • Co-design enabling environments. 

Abt also developed a set of eight training videos designed to help build Casey Family Programs staff’s capacity to use data to drive evidence-informed decision making.

Related publications:

Contact Us

Connect with Abt’s Child and Family Well-Being Practice Lead Ginger Pryor to learn more about how Abt can support you in using this information and tools to improve the child welfare system.