The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities believes that child abuse and neglect are preventable—not inevitable—and that they usually occur in the context of multiple stressors that challenge children, families, and communities. However, for too long, the child welfare system has been plagued by systemic racism, over-reporting of people living in poverty to child protection systems, and the too-frequent removal of children from their families. We have a system that intervenes only after harm has occurred, rather than investing in preventing child abuse and neglect by keeping families strong. 

Along with partners in public agencies, community-based organizations, and philanthropy, the Alliance believes the solution lies in transforming child welfare to prioritize prevention and early intervention. Through this lens, we can build resilience; mitigate adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress; and champion stable, supportive relationships. The Alliance looks to foster collaborative, community-based strategies for supporting parents and ensuring they have the support and skills they need to keep their kids safe and help their families thrive. 

The transformation we envision moves child welfare to a public heath approach that is designed to address complex social challenges. This model, which identifies root causes, uses population-level data, equitably allocates resources and services, and aligns multiple agencies, can create an effective community approach to improving outcomes for children and families. 

The Alliance works to accelerate additional key priorities related to safety and resilience as part of its public policy agenda. Through partnerships, we will work to address unaccompanied minors who are detained at the border, gun violence and gun policy reform, and policing accountability and transparency. 

Our Work

The Alliance works with national partners to amplify this vision through advocacy and strategic communications. We provide technical assistance to community-based organizations and jurisdictions working to build child and family well-being systems, apply principles of brain science to their practice, and pivot toward prevention. Specifically, we work to:

  • Amplify and advance the recommendations of the federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
  • Support the shift from a sole focus on child protection to a broader focus on child and family well-being
  • Monitor, guide, and support stakeholders in fostering a preventative approach to child welfare
  • Advance trauma-informed and brain science-aligned principles and promote evidence-based best practices
  • Provide stakeholders with research-backed messaging tools to help them better position and explain childhood adversity and communicate the need for prevention  

Change in Mind Institute

Gain tools, resources, and support in applying the latest brain science research. 


Child Safety Forward Initiative 

National initiative to reduce child abuse fatalities with a collaborative approach.


Within Our Reach Office 

Access information for reforming child welfare around a public health approach. 

Learn More

Guiding Principles of a Child and Family Well-Being System 

We envision a new child and family well-being system that, while inclusive of child protection agencies, is built on the foundation of prevention and earlier intervention, with many community partners who share responsibility to support families so that all children thrive. There are a number of core features we believe are essential to a child and family well-being system: 

  • A Health Equity Framework. Understanding and working to eliminate historical, systemic inequities that lead to poor outcomes for families and working for the just distribution of social resources and social opportunities needed to achieve well-being. 
  • A Social Determinants of Health Framework. Understanding and working to improve the conditions in which people live that affect health outcomes over the course of the lifespan. 
  • A Life Course Perspective. Understanding and applying brain science research related to the impact of adverse childhood and life experiences, toxic stress, and supportive relationships over the course of the lifespan. 
  • Lived Experience. Meaningfully and intentionally incorporating insights from those with lived experiences, such as birth parents, relative caregivers, foster parents, and youth in foster care, in decisions about policy and practice. 
  • Use of Data. Leveraging data to better understand risk and protective factors, identify the best places to focus interventions, and evaluate effectiveness. 
  • Coordinating and Integrating Efforts across Systems. Accepting that child maltreatment is a communitywide problem that must be addressed by all government and community-based organizations that interact with families and children.  
  • Preventive Interventions that Are Evidence-Based, Promising, or Effective. Investing in preventive strategies and programs to strengthen families and communities and reduce risk factors. 

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