The Community Partnership Vision
Strong Families, Safe Children, and Concerned, Caring Neighbors
What is Community Partnerships for Protecting Children?
Community Partnerships for Protecting Children is an approach that recognizes that “Keeping Children Safe is Everybody’s Business”. It is an approach that neighborhoods, towns, cities and states can adopt to improve how children are protected from maltreatment.
Community Partnerships for Protecting Children is not a “program”–rather it is a way of working with families that helps services be more inviting, needs-based, accessible and relevant.
Community Partnerships for Protecting Children aims to blend the work and expertise of both professionals and residents to bolster support for vulnerable families and children.
Why are Community Partnerships for Protecting Children Necessary?
Child safety is a “24 hours a day, 7 days a week” concern. The Department of Human Services, the state child protection agency, can’t do it alone. Creating safety for children will take the efforts of the entire community.
Protecting children begins with prevention and early intervention. Services that can help strengthen families need to be made earlier, before crisis occurs. Because families are more likely to turn to people they know for help rather than to “the system”, the community has a major role to play in child protection.
Community Partnership’s Four Fundamental Principles:
Shared Decision Making–a local decision-making body reviews the effectiveness of community child protection and engages community members to participate in and support the initiative.
Policy and Practice Change–The Department of Human Services should adapt its policies and practices to support the approach. The agency also becomes a partner in the neighborhood network and an even more effective agency to ensure child safety.
Family Team Meeting–Services for vulnerable families should be individualized to address each child’s and each family’s specific needs. This is accomplished through a Family Team Meeting, during which the family, their own support systems, Child Protective Services and representatives of the more formal systems involved come together to develop a mutually agreed upon plan of action to keep the children safe.
Neighborhood Networking–involves new roles for community members and community organizations so that parents, other residents, neighborhood leaders, and neighborhood organizations get involved in preventing and addressing the problem of child abuse and neglect, and pursue goals of family support.