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National Partnership for Child Safety Provides Year-End Updates on Collaborative Efforts to Improve Child Safety and Prevent Child Maltreatment Fatalities | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


WASHINGTON , Dec. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The National Partnership for Child Safety (NPCS), a quality improvement collaborative with a mission to improve child safety and prevent child maltreatment fatalities, provided its year end update on partnership activities related to strengthening families and promoting safety science and innovations in child welfare.

NPCS logo

NPCS logo

The NPCS currently includes the participation of 38 state, county and tribal child and family-serving child welfare jurisdictions who are assessing and applying safety science principles in their agencies. The growth of the partnership now reflects a footprint of public child welfare agencies that represent nearly 70% of families involved with the child welfare system nationally.

Jurisdictions new to the partnership over the past year include: The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services; the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services; the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services; the Washoe County (NV) Human Services Agency; the Philadelphia Department of Human Services; and the Child and Family Services Agency of Washington, DC.

“As the partnership increases in numbers, we are able to expand our shared learning across jurisdictions and enhance our efforts to fully integrate safety science across child welfare systems,” noted Jodi Hill-Lilly, deputy commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and executive committee co-chair of the National Partnership for Child Safety. “With a focus on a best practice standardized critical incident review process, data-sharing across jurisdictions to identify trends and best practices; on-going peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and the integration of community voice, we are building on the gold standard of evidence-based, quality improvement efforts to reduce child maltreatment fatalities.”

Safety science provides a framework and processes for child protection agencies to understand the inherently complex nature of the work and the factors that influence decision-making. It also provides a safe and supportive environment for professionals to process, share and learn from critical incidents. Central to the work is a standardized systems-focused critical incident review (SCIR) process that works to support a culture of safety that can lead to improvements for families in the child welfare system. Systems-focused critical incident reviews draw on the evidence-based practices of safety science improvement and implementation and operate on a core set of values: family-centered; workforce-informed; and systems-focused.

Critical incident reviews start with a broad understanding of the needs of the child/family, with unmet needs identified as improvement opportunities or the gaps between what the child/family needed and what they received. The core values guide this process in the following ways:

  • Family-Centered: By identifying unmet family needs as part of the case review, we identify improvement opportunities as well as biases that may impact the perspective of caseworkers as they seek to understand what led to the critical incident and what could have prevented it.

  • Workforce-Informed: We create psychologically safe spaces and opportunities for professionals to share the context for decision-making and seek insights and collaborative problem solving that can lead to systems improvements.

  • Systems-Focused: By focusing on systems, we identify systemic barriers and challenges that can lead to high-impact ways to improve outcomes for families.

The NPCS incorporates tools such as the Safe Systems Improvement Tool (SSIT), safety culture surveys and data-sharing across jurisdictions to help identify best practices and systems-level improvements that have worked across various agencies and regions.

At the heart of a safety-grounded workforce approach is the need for psychological safety, which is essential to identifying systemic causes of failure rather than seeking to assign blame to workers. This then enables workers to participate in a culture of learning rather than a culture of fear that can help better understand how and why decisions were made and shift the focus to system improvements that will have a greater long-term impact on saving lives than simply hitting the reset button on a trained and resourced child welfare workforce.

The approach integrates and evaluates new team-based workforce practices, grounded in safety science, that impact and improve the ways in which child welfare workers engage with families around key factors such as in-home safety planning, testing and evaluation of protective factors, and simulation training. Taken together, these practice and policy changes improve high consequence decision-making and offers the supports that can enable families to stay together safely.

“Through these measures to share critical incident insights across jurisdictions, we have the opportunity to identify and apply new learnings that can improve child safety and child protection system outcomes overall,” said Chip Spinning, executive director of Franklin County Children Services in Ohio and executive committee co-chair of the National Partnership for Child Safety. “Working together to integrate child safety approaches, we hope to reduce the number of child fatalities and near fatalities, decrease repeat maltreatment, improve workforce retention, and decrease racial inequities across child welfare systems.”

The partnership is supported by Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest operating foundation focused on safely reducing the need for foster care in the United States. The Center for Innovation in Population Health at the University of Kentucky heads the technical assistance team, led by Michael Cull, PhD. The National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention at MPHI serves as the data warehouse for the partnership.

Media Notes: To request an interview with a spokesperson for the National Partnership for Child Safety, please contact Jennifer Devlin at 703-966-3241 or [email protected].

About the National Partnership for Child Safety (NPCS)

The National Partnership for Child Safety (NPCS), initially formed in 2018, is a quality improvement collaborative to improve child safety and reduce child maltreatment fatalities through the application of safety science and shared data. Members of the collaborative have a shared goal of strengthening families, promoting innovations and a public health response to reducing and preventing child maltreatment and fatalities. Through support and partnership with Casey Family Programs, members of this collaborative are receiving technical assistance from the Center for Innovation in Population Health at the University of Kentucky. The partnership is member directed and every partner has representation on the Executive Committee and other partner-wide committees and workgroups to help direct partnership activities. Visit us on the web: https://nationalpartnershipchildsafety.org/about/.

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SOURCE National Partnership for Child Safety

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