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.
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