Thriving Families Initiative

Our Strategic and Racial Equity Plan calls on us to eliminate racial disproportionalities, improve the quality and intention of our practice and availability of provider services, and prevent harm to children and youth – as far upstream as possible.

Thriving Families is made up of multiple projects and initiatives in the child welfare space that focuses on prevention, supporting families and staff, and strengthening our practice.

The Thriving Families Initiative will improve outcomes for families by:

  • Safely reducing the number of children in out-of-home placements
  • Supporting families so children/youth remain safely at home
  • Placing children with kin/relatives, if they cannot remain safely at home
  • Ensuring all placements are safe, stable, and support permanency


The vision for this project is to develop a comprehensive child welfare assessment system that is fully integrated with the Family Practice Model and meets the needs of our caseworkers and the children, youth, and families we serve.

The vision of the Caregiver Supports Project is to implement a continuum of placement resources that enable safe, stable, and supported placements for children in the care of DCYF. The continuum will increase access to caregiver supports and align supports to the diverse needs of youth and children in out-of-home placement.

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This project will assess new and upcoming workload requirements for child welfare and Indian child welfare practice and foster home licensing so that the agency can request, allocate, and support staff to best serve children, youth, and families.

The goal for the D.S. settlement is to increase placement stability and achieve a youth and family-centered, culturally and trauma-informed system of placements and supports for children and youth with behavioral health and developmental disabilities.

DCYF created a Family Practice Model (FPM) framework through co-design with child welfare field operations staff across the state. The FPM framework represents staff’s vision for child welfare rooted in DCYF’s values of inclusion, integrity, respect, compassion, and transparency.

This project will revise the Indian Child Welfare (ICW) Policies and Procedures Manual and applicable DCYF ICW forms and ICW trainings to strengthen practice in alignment with the federal and state Indian Child Welfare Act to achieve better outcomes for Native American children and families.

This project builds and promotes a “Kin-First” culture in out-of-home placement. This requires the agency to improve how we identify kin, promote the decision to place with kin, and ensure we support children and kin post-placement.

This project trains all caseload-carrying DCYF child welfare staff to fidelity in Motivational Interviewing to facilitate positive change through engagement with children, youth, and families, which will reduce removals and lengths of stay in out-of-home placements.

This project promotes early and continued engagement with parents, youth, family natural supports, and caregivers and facilitates family and youth decision-making in case planning with transparency, respect, and inclusion through Enhanced Permanency Planning Meetings and Enhanced Youth Recruitment.

This project provides all case-carrying workers with an understanding of the legal shift regarding removals, imminent physical harm, services to families, and assessment of child safety.

This project supports increased service delivery across the state, a centralized and standardized system of provider availability and access that is robust, supportive, and culturally responsive.