Track: Safety and Security
Commitment: Leading with Vision; Partnering with Purpose
North Star: Commitment to Outcomes; Strategic Partnerships

Format: Project-Based
Level of Learning: Doer

In 2018, Monterey County, California experienced two child murders and another severe child abuse event. The director of social services wanted to channel the outrage and mourning to action that mobilizes the community to not only work harder to prevent fatalities, but to improve community-wide child well-being. He recognized that, “child abuse and neglect occur in the context of a host of stressors that take a toll on child and family well-being and community systems: over­crowded housing, poverty, community violence, and unstable employment opportunities. A more meaningful system improvement process works toward strengthening the overall public and community-based systems.” 

Monterey reached out to the Alliance’s Within Our Reach Office and APHSA for advice in transforming their human services systems. Using the recommendations from the National Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths, a sponsorship team engaged with Monterey to develop a roadmap to child well-being. This team included representatives from APHSA, the Alliance, NAPCWA, foundations, state and community members. An assessment was completed, and the community began planning their transformation using the human services value curve as a foundation. They have since developed a multi-prong road map of very concrete and doable strategies that are within their reach. 

This workshop will first describe the process used in building the road map in Monterey county including the sponsorship approach and the use of the human services value curve and describe the fundamental principles of a transformed child welfare system within a public health framework. Attendees will then participate in discussions on how they can replicate the work in Monterey county to begin assessments and development of their own road maps to transform their systems to improve child, family, and community well-being.

Learning Objectives 

  • Be able to describe the characteristics of a 21st-century child welfare system built within a public health framework
  • Be able to incorporate principles from the human service value curve in designing an approach for change
  • Be able to describe how a sponsorship process can bring together multiple stakeholders including national, state, and community leaders to design and implement the road map


  • Theresa Covington, director of Within Our Reach, Alliance for Strong families and Communities
  • Jennifer Kerr, organizational effectiveness consultant, American Public Human Services Association

Theresa Covington
Director of Within Our Reach
Alliance for Strong families and Communities

Teri Covington is the director of Within Our Reach, working to advance policy and practice recommendations at the federal and state levels from the National Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect. She managed the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention for 15 years and established and managed the Michigan Child Death Review Program and CRP on fatalities for 8 years. She served on the National Commission to Eliminate Child abuse and Neglect Deaths. She has over 35 years’ experience in public health and child welfare, with an emphasis on prevention; and a master’s in public health from the University of Michigan.

Jennifer Kerr
Organizational Effectiveness Consultant
American Public Human Services Association

Jennifer Kerr is an Organizational Effectiveness (OE) Consultant with the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA). As an OE Consultant, Jen facilitates change management projects throughout the United States and supports knowledge management by developing online learning tools.  Jen joined APHSA with 15 years of organization effectiveness, training development, curriculum design and IT project management experience where she has worked at a county child welfare agency, university and an IT consulting firm. Jen holds a Bachelor's of Science in Business Management from West Chester University and a Masters of Education / Counseling from Widener University.