Thriving Families, Safer Children: A new opportunity for systems transformation

Change Makers: Our partner acceleration work with Thriving Families, Safer Children allows us to collaborate with Kansas leaders to help transform our child welfare system into a child well-being system, focused on strengthening families and building resiliency, rather than separating families.

From The Dot, CPPR’s internal newsletter

Thriving Families, Safer Children
A new opportunity for systems transformation 

CPPR has another great opportunity to help shape the landscape for children and families in Kansas, helping to transform our child welfare system into one focused on child well-being. Our team will provide backbone support for the Thriving Families, Safer Children: A National Commitment to Well-Being – Round Two grant, as part of our partnership with the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund.

Kansas is one of 22 states or jurisdictions selected for round one or two of Thriving Families, Safer Children. Round two kicked off February 2021. Our national partners include the Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau, Casey Family Programs, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Prevent Child Abuse America. Our Kansas partners are the Children’s Cabinet, Kansas Department for Children and Families, Kansas Children’s Service League, Kansas State Department of Education, and Kansas Department for Health and Environment.

As part of this work, Kansas is committed to combatting, ameliorating, and preventing racial inequity and to promoting equity, access, inclusion, and engagement. The state’s objectives are:

Address systemic barriers to create a well-being system in Kansas.
1.    Develop robust networks of community based primary prevention supports.
2.    Integrate family/youth/community expertise into design, operation, and improvement of well-being systems.
3.    Revise statutory definitions of neglect and mandatory reporting that clearly differentiate maltreatment from poverty.
4.    Align with Maternal Child Health and other public health initiatives that strengthen and support children and families.

One of our goals in participating in this project is to learn from other states and the national partners about how to achieve these priorities in Kansas. “We are already learning from other states, like things they are doing at a systems level to address and mitigate disparities,” explains Meghan Cizek, assistant director. “One state is planning to use reconciliation, which I think is so cool. I don’t know how you can authentically engage with families if you don’t acknowledge the trauma the system has caused.”