The Positioning Public Child Welfare Guidance, or (PPCWG) was developed by and for the field of public child welfare as an American Public Human Services (APHSA) initiative. This broad array of content and tools provides a foundation from which agencies can innovate, evaluate and change to improve when the evidence indicates a need. The materials define what the public child welfare system does, how it does it, and how it holds itself accountable and are arranged to reflect 14 principal areas for agency effectiveness listed below. The administrative practices section provides the highest level of guidance that pertains to all functions, while the listed “function chapters” are more detailed to the specific function. A general user guide is that each of the links on the left-hand side go to a page with a brief content discussion to provide context and a list of materials that can be accessed.
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Strategy: The field of public child welfare develops a strategy for achieving outcomes for children, youth and families. The most basic strategy identifies the vision, mission, goals, and priorities that direct the work of the entire organization.
Practice Model: The field of public child welfare defines how to effectively deliver services to children, youth, and families. The practice model includes the following elements: desired outcomes, principles, theory of change, evidence informed practice, process and quality of care, and service array.
Leadership: The field of public child welfare has a leadership philosophy that is outcome focused. Senior leadership establishes a compelling vision that sets direction and goals, plans and manages change, makes strategic decisions, garners resources, and builds political and community will. Leadership at all levels in the organization, including but not limited to the executive and senior management administrators, supervisors, child welfare workers, and support staff effectively communicates, builds trust, makes sound decisions and improves performance capacity and accountability to achieve clearly defined outcomes.
Disparities and Disproportionality: The field of public child welfare recognizes the consequences of disparate treatment and its impact on disproportionality in all areas of its system. In this context, disparity refers to the negative effects of a family's inability to access, use, or receive quality care, resources, services and opportunities to thrive. Disparity means that the observed differences in treatment are unnecessary, avoidable, unfair, or unjust. Disproportionality refers to the occurrence of population cohorts as over-or underrepresented in public child welfare relative to their proportion in the general population.
Workforce: The field of public child welfare is responsible for the development and implementation of a workforce strategy that recruits, staffs, manages performance, continually educates, retains, rewards, recognizes and adequately compensates a well prepared, supported, and appropriately deployed workforce equipped to provide effective services to children, youth, and families. Public child welfare administrators must be able to understand, anticipate, plan, and act upon current and future workforce needs.
Communications: The field of public child welfare has formalized strategies for communicating both internally and externally. The strategy addresses pro-active and re-active communications; provides for formal and informal interactions; and for developing and maintaining relationships with stakeholders and the children, youth and families we serve.
Change Management: The field of public child welfare has the ability to innovate and collaborate, assess its performance, self-correct, manage its performance and enhance its ability to achieve positive outcomes. It builds on the strengths of current practice and is responsive to contemporary and emerging issues.
Administrative Practices: The field of public child welfare provides and uses support functions essential for the effective attainment, use, and distribution of resources to children, youth, and families. These functions follow practice standards in the design and delivery of support services which are based on research and industry standards. Support functions include but are not limited to human resources, information technology, finance, contracts management, and legal counsel.
Strategic Partnerships: The field of public child welfare establishes and maintains strategic working partnerships with children, youth, families and stakeholders to improve outcomes by promoting trust, goodwill, and accountability.
Information Management: The field of public child welfare identifies, acquires, and analyzes formal and informal knowledge within the organization. The field manages and adapts knowledge in a manner that maintains the integrity of the information and makes it accessible and understandable to all relevant parties. The field disseminates knowledge to the right people at the right time to enable performance, encourage innovation, and improve outcomes.
Public Policy: The field of public child welfare proactively informs, influences, and develops public policy in concert with youth and families, stakeholders and branches of government such as the judicial system. The field also monitors and responds to legislation and administrative actions that may affect its ability to achieve positive outcomes.
Budget and Finance: The field of public child welfare is able to strategize, leverage, and maximize resources to achieve outcomes. It works to break down barriers in funding cycles and processes that limit its ability to work collaboratively and creatively. It is also fiscally responsible and able to assess and develop strategies to mitigate and manage risk.
Research: The field of public child welfare invests in, promotes, and guides research that generates reliable, valid, generalizable, relevant, and usable knowledge to answer questions that emerge from child welfare practice and policy.
Technology Options: The field of public child welfare is able to identify, use, and maximize technology, both equipment and software to support service delivery, practice improvement, communications and promote partnerships with stakeholders.