The Center for Child and Family Well-Being (CCFWB) serves and connects our members and partners who share responsibility for healthy child development, preserving and supporting families, and empowering communities. Through the Center, we aim to:
- Reconfigure the structure of the service delivery system to better promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families;
- Create healthier environments for all through social engagement and community supports that build health and wellness;
- Build a national peer network to advance solutions within and across the public, social, and private sectors to strengthen individuals, families, and communities; and
- Design programs, implement strategies and build knowledge that will enhance family functioning, improve developmental outcomes, and sustain collaborations.
To accomplish these objectives, the Center will develop a framework for designing and constructing practices that support and nurture these positive outcomes. A robust and well-constructed frame will limit exposure to health and well-being hazards and increase access to layers of support, so individuals and families become more resilient and self-sufficient. These layers include neighborhoods and communities, businesses, institutional supports (public and private, for-profit, and nonprofit) and social and economic policies. Creating linkages across these layers benefits the community and broader society as a whole and establishes a solid track for healthy, successful growth and development.
The Center uses the Human Services Value Curve to advance this integrated system change approach. The Value Curve’s theory of change helps systems increase their understanding and skills to build system capacity and maximize human potential. By applying the Value Curve’s principles, systems move away from working in isolation from other sectors and begin serving consumers in an integrated and holistic manner. Stakeholders and partners identify challenges earlier, and reach across and outside of the sector for broader solutions to address community-wide challenges. This is where we see collective impact operationalized – the process through which partners from various sectors share a common agenda and develop a joint approach to solving a targeted issue or societal problem.
Our work to improve child and family well-being requires that we account for the environmental factors that impact (and possibly threaten) our objectives. To ensure our foundation is solid and free of hazards, we will examine and incorporate Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). SDOH are the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, and work that affect their capacity and well-being. These circumstances are shaped by economics, social policies, and politics that will vary in each city, county, and state – variations that affect access to opportunities. Being born or residing in a particular zip code should not determine someone’s life trajectory; instead, everyone should have the same opportunity to achieve success. Through the Center, we will advance strategies that support fairness across places and boundaries.
One of the Center’s most fundamental concepts is the life course. The life course encompasses interconnections of biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors that shape outcomes across a person’s life, starting before birth, along with protective and risk factors. Considering an individual’s life course in the context of the broader environment, it becomes evident that systems of care (which includes human services) must strive to improve cognitive, emotional/behavioral and social functioning as well as physical health and development. In childhood, human services provide support for quality child care, ensuring child safety, and supports for healthy adolescent development. In adulthood, human services support parents’ access to and tools for well-paying jobs, mental health services, and linkages for community engagement. By applying this concept to child development and well-being, we create a stronger process for helping people reach their full potential.
Public Policy Priorities
The Center has identified the following as essential for moving our systems so that all children thrive, and along with their families are engaged in their communities and experience well-being:
- Intensify transformation efforts so 21st Century person and family-centered systems can build appropriate supports around children and families, and appropriately adapt service arrays;
- Remove structural obstacles to increase innovation demonstrations and local experimentation and to reduce disparities among various populations, e.g., Two-Generation approaches;
- Promote integration and embedding of a public health approach to prevention strategies;
- Invest in infrastructure capacities to scale up promising approaches and evidence-informed/evidence-based practices;
- Align federal funding linkages and blended and braided funds to promote integration and collaboration across human serving systems.
Strategic Industry Partners
The CCFWB receives funding and support from APHSA’s Strategic Industry Partners. We thank them for their continued support.