The Child Welfare and Supportive Housing Resource Center held a 3-day national convening in Washington, DC, with the stakeholders of the Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families in the Child Welfare System, a demonstration project testing an intensive approach that pairs supportive housing with on-site case management and a comprehensive array of services for families experiencing repeated homelessness, substance abuse and mental health problems, along with child welfare-involvement.
The event spotlighted how five grantee sites in the “Partnerships” demonstration – Broward County(FL), Memphis (TN), State of Connecticut, Cedar Rapids (IA), and San Francisco (CA) – are effectively using supportive housing to stabilize families, improve child well-being, and keep families together by avoiding unnecessary foster care placement.
The themes of this convening were:
- Relaying what we’ve learned
- Going Beyond Collaboration
- Envisioning the Future
Objectives of the convening include:
- Building effective strategies to realign local services delivery systems (housing, child welfare) to ensure more collaboration and cooperation between the systems so families are served in a holistic way
- Sustaining the “Partnerships” demonstration project for years to come to serve as many child welfare-involved families as possible
The convening was attended by roughly 60 participants including federal officials, national philanthropic leaders, and local child welfare, housing and social services representatives from the five sites.
Commissioner Rafael J. Lopez, Commissioner, Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), made a presentation to the grantees on the first day of the convening, encouraging them to stick to what works. He congratulated sites on their progress and innovation so far, and urged them to continue refining supportive housing interventions for families with the most needs, and at-highest risk of repeat involvement in the child welfare, homeless, and other public systems.
The Keynote speaker of the convening was well-known, best-selling author and mental health advocate, Pete Earley, who serves on the CSH Board of Directors.
Back in 2013, the theme of the very first convening was celebration and inspiration. Sites were given their first chance to share with one another. The philosophical divide between the child welfare system and supportive housing was raised then, specifically around Housing First. Today, two years later, sites are still grappling with some challenges but making notable progress. Over 250 families have been housed not because they were “ready” i.e., sober, reunified, employed, but because housing and child welfare systems alike are recognizing that in order to achieve family stability, reunification and improvement in child and parent well-being, the most vulnerable families need the platform of housing to keep them together to meet their goals.
DHHS, Administration for Children and Families, ACYF, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Programs, and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation support and endorse the work of the Child Welfare and Supportive Housing Resource Center and the demonstration project.
ATTENTION: CONVENING PARTICIPANTS
If you need access to the reimbursement form or agenda information, please click here. You will be directed to the passcode protected page accessible to participants of the convening.