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Family Strengthening: Building Momentum Around Family-Centered Practices and Policies. Family Strengthening Policy Center National Human Services Assembly, Washington, D.C. April 2005. Who We Are: Family Strengthening Policy Center.

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family strengthening building momentum around family centered practices and policies

Family Strengthening:Building Momentum Around Family-Centered Practices and Policies

Family Strengthening Policy Center

National Human Services Assembly, Washington, D.C.

April 2005

who we are family strengthening policy center
Who We Are: Family Strengthening Policy Center

An initiative of the National Human Services Assembly:

Alliance of ~70 national nonprofit health & human service organizations

some of our members

Alliance for Children and Families

Alliance of Information and Referral Services

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Child Welfare League of America

Communities in Schools

Family Support America

Girl Scouts of the USA

National 4-H Council

National Crime Prevention Council National Urban League

Points of Light Foundation

Search Institute

The Forum for Youth Investment

United Way of America

YMCA of the USA

Youth Service America

…And many more….

Some of our Members…
annie e casey foundation s investment in family
Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Investment in Family
  • Policy Center funded since 2003 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Part of foundation’s Neighborhood Transformation / Family Development & Making Connections Initiative
  • Making Connections is a ten-year investment by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (started in 1999) to improve the outcomes for families and children in tough or isolated neighborhoods.
  • The Casey Foundation’s research has shown that children do better when their families are strong, and families do better when they live in communities that help them to succeed.
family support america family strengthening policy center shared premises and principles
Policy Center / AECF

Family Strengthening is…

“A deliberate and sustained effort to

ensure that parents have the

necessary opportunities,

relationships, networks and

supports to raise their children

successfully, which includes

involving parents as decision

makers in how their communities

meet family needs.”

Family Support America

Premises of Family Support

Primary responsibility for the development and well-being of children lies within the family, and all segments of society must support families as they rear their children.

Assuring the well-being of all families is the cornerstone of healthy society, and requires universal access to support programs and services.

Families are empowered when they have access to information and other resources and take action to improve the well-being of children, families, and communities.

Family Support America ~ Family Strengthening Policy CenterShared Premises and Principles
our work overall goals
To impact a change in the condition of well-being for children and families

To influence the development of policies and practices that advance a family-centered, community-based, preventative and holistic approach to serving families

To leverage the National Assembly’s network of national nonprofit human service organizations to change how family policy is formulated

Our Work: Overall Goals
policy center s activities
Policy Center’s Activities
  • Disseminate resources via web site and monthly e-newsletter
  • Identify and promote promising practices in the field
  • Outreach & engagement develop capacity building initiatives for integrating the family strengthening approach in the human services sector.
policy center s 3 core areas
Policy Center’s 3 Core Areas

Framework for thinking about what all families need to be successful & how human service organizations can address these needs:

Family Economic Success:

Families have opportunity to earn a decent living and build assets (e.g. homeownership, savings)

Supports & Services

Families have access to appropriate & adequate systems of support in their own communities: general health, child care, transportation, education and more

Thriving and Nurturing Communities

Families live in nurturing and supportive environments with access to affordable housing, safe streets, and strong neighborhood institutions.

Residents are connected to strong informal support networks: family, neighbors, faith communities and civic groups

case study 1 eitc outreach
Case Study 1: EITC Outreach

Opportunity: Community-based organizations can connect families to economic assets

Challenge: Integrating EITC awareness into the work of organizations who may not see “economic success” or “financial literacy” as part of their mission

case study 2 connecting communities families schools
Opportunity:Create schools that are community hubs. Children, families and community members have access to services, opportunities and supports under one roof.

Challenge:Education system focused on academic achievement instead of child & family assets and development.

Barriers exist to engage families in school life; few dedicated resources to make this happen.

Recommended Tool

Annie E. Casey Strengthening Families / Strengthening Schools Toolkit

Case Study 2: Connecting Communities, Families & Schools

(National Central Regional Educational Library, 2004).

case study 3 family strengthening in youth development field

Caring relationships between families and adolescents found to be significant protective factor for youth.

Youth organizations have potential to connect families of youth to supports, services, and opportunities.

Many youth organizations already embrace “youth as resources” philosophy – have great potential to expand this to work with adult family members as partners to support positive youth development.


In many youth organizations, family involvement is often “problem-based” and top-down instead of asset-based and collaborative.

Families and communities are not always recognized as highly significant parts of young people’s lives, inner strengths and assets.

Opportunities for adult family members to participate in work of youth serving organization in advisory, program, advocacy and/or leadership roles not always available.

Case Study 3: Family Strengthening in Youth Development Field
opportunities for building partnerships
Opportunities for Building Partnerships

What are the different ways that organizations can work together?


A networking relationship includes exchanging information to help each organization improve.


Organizations have a coordinating relationship when they modify their activities so that together, they provide better services to their constituents.


In a cooperative relationship, organizations may share staff, volunteers, expertise, space, funds, and other resources.


In a collaborative relationship, organizations help each other expand or enhance their capacities to do their jobs. They share risks, responsibilities, and rewards

Multi-sector collaboration

Organizations and citizens form a partnership. All parties give priority to the good of the community

building partnerships
Building Partnerships

How do you choose among these relationships?

  • You want to choose an arrangement that will accomplish your goals.
  • You want to work out an arrangement that is feasible.

In choosing a relationship, consider:

  • What are your goals?
  • Which kind of relationship is necessary to accomplish those goals?
  • Are there resources?
  • Is there sufficient trust and commitment to support it?
thank you
Thank You!

Family Strengthening Policy Center

National Human Services Assembly

1319 F Street NW, Suite 402

Washington, DC 20004

Tel: 202-347-2080 Ext 22, 25

Fax: 202-393-4517