Maryland Department of Human Services Selected To Participate In First-of-its-Kind National Effort to Redesign Child Welfare

February 11, 2021

Media Contact: Katherine Morris

Maryland Department of Human Services Selected To Participate In First-of-its-Kind National Effort to Redesign Child Welfare

Thriving Families, Safer Children Program Aims to Redesign Child Welfare Into Child-and-Family Well-Being Systems

BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) announced today that it was selected by the federal Children’s Bureau, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Programs, and Prevent Child Abuse America to participate in Tier Two of the national initiative Thriving Families, Safer Children: A National Commitment to Well-Being.

Thriving Families, Safer Children is a first-of-its-kind program that aims to transform traditional, reactive child welfare systems into one that is designed to support child and family well-being and prevent child maltreatment and unnecessary family separations. The multi-year federal initiative will provide resources and supports to transform child welfare organizations across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors.

The initiative is composed of three tiers of action:

  • Tier One — Launched in the Fall of 2020, this effort focuses on locally-driven strategies. Select jurisdictions serve as demonstration sites, collaborating with the initiative’s partners for intensive technical support and resources to help realize their goal of creating child and family well-being systems.
  • Tier Two — The effort will partner with jurisdictions to advance policy and systemic reforms at the state, tribal or territorial level.
  • Tier Three — The effort will share lessons learned to help inform and inspire other jurisdictions in launching their own child and family well-being programs.

“The distinction of being selected to participate in Tier Two of this national effort with our distinguished partners is an immeasurable honor,” said Lourdes R. Padilla, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Services. “DHS has invaluable input to contribute in the collaboration of rethinking child welfare systems. As part of our Two-Generation approach, valuing equally the outcomes of parents and children, we are always committed to identifying and developing innovative solutions to better serve Maryland families.”

The Thriving Families, Safer Children effort prioritizes working with diverse stakeholders, especially those families with lived expertise in child welfare, to help develop resources and services that best meet their unique needs and to promote conditions that help them thrive.

The initiative will focus on creating and enhancing networks of community-based supports and aligning government resources to provide a wide-range of services that strengthen families and mitigate associated risk factors of child maltreatment. Maryland’s longstanding system transformation efforts well-positioned DHS for this opportunity to enhance our array of prevention services and engage our partners in making the connections between prevention and well-being.

“We are honored to be included in a common cause that encompasses like-minded states,” said Michelle L. Farr, Executive Director of the Social Services Administration at DHS. “We trust that we will have as much to richly learn as we will to offer in this exchange. This occasion represents a gift not only to DHS but to our constituents. When avenues open for potential growth, it’s a win-win for everyone.”

The Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) is the state’s primary social service provider, annually reaching more than one million people. Through its 24 local departments of social services, the agency pursues opportunities to assist people in economic need, provide preventive services, and protect vulnerable children and adults in each of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City. Additional information may be found at dhs.maryland.gov.


Filed in: Adoption and Foster Care, Child Care, Child Welfare, DHS News

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