Children and Families

Challenge

Across the country, communities are reimagining the way they support children and families, seeking to:

  • Redirect resources towards prevention investments that help shrink or eliminate punitive government responses such as child protection investigations and removals;
  • Place racial equity and family voice at the center as they redesign historically oppressive and racially inequitable systems; and
  • Respond to the complex needs of whole families and multiple generations through more flexible, holistic, and integrated resources.

Approach

The GPL Children and Families practice supports communities committed to reimagining the way they support children and families, redirecting resources towards prevention investments that help shrink punitive government responses such as child protection investigations and removals. To that end, we support governments looking to implement preventative practices in the following priority areas: 

  1. Strengthening family resiliency and healthy child development for families at risk of interacting with the child protection system. Strengthening community-based resources for families to access locally designed supports outside the child welfare system (e.g. home visiting programs, 2-1-1 service navigators, family resource centers), and ensuring the most at-risk families are connected to these resources. 

  2. Working further upstream to address major drivers of entries to the child protection system and worse outcomes once there. (1) Connect parents to substance use supports tailored to meet the needs of caregivers; and (2) Strengthen and improve timely access to community-based youth behavioral health supports to address effects of childhood trauma and reduce behaviors that lead to systems-involvement. 

  3. Supporting relative caregivers both within and outside the foster care system, who play a critical role stabilizing families who may otherwise enter the child protection system, as well as reducing the harm of family separation if children do enter care. 

  4. Build more equitable service systems, particularly racially equitable, across all of these priority areas, including through equitable procurement and contracting practices and by placing youth and family voice at the center of design, decision-making, and practice improvement.

"Across the board, I really appreciate that the majority of [GPL’s] work has a race equity lens to highlight equitable practices in child welfare that helps us think about how we can uplift practices and change our child welfare system.”

– Demetrius Starling, Executive Director, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Services Agency

Our Team