Barger seeks to energize faith community in county’s effort to address child welfare needs

LOS ANGELES COUNTY – The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a motion by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda L. Solis to develop a coordinated faith-based engagement strategy to help meet the needs of the children and families in L.A. County communities.

“Faith-based organizations have a long-standing tradition of providing effective supportive services to families in need,” said Supervisor Barger. “As a vital component of the informal social safety of their individual communities, the full engagement of their services in the area of child welfare in a strategic manner is a logical next step.”

Although faith-based organizations across Los Angeles County have historically partnered with the Department of Family and Children Services (DCFS) in support of children and families involved with the child welfare system in numerous ways, the strength and effectiveness of these partnerships has ebbed and flowed. They also have not always been realized equitably across diverse geographies, faiths, DCFS offices, and communities. As a result, the faith community collectively represents a largely under-tapped resource for a broad range of services and supports for children and families.

On September 25, 2018, the Board of Supervisors directed the Center for Strategic Partnerships to the explore the possibility of employing the services of a uniquely qualified consultant with expertise in designing faith-based programs, with a specific focus on building and sustaining effective services, resources, and practices, including recruitment and retention of prospective resource families.

The consultant will work with DCFS, the Center, philanthropy, and key stakeholders to continue to move the faith-based engagement work, including work in the area of recruitment and retention of resource families, forward. DCFS plans to implement the consultant’s recommendations as part of their coordinated faith-based program.

Today’s action instructed the Director of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to enter into a funding agreement with the Center for Strategic partnership for $100,000 to co-invest in hiring a faith-based consultant and engage in innovative strategies to recruit, retain, and support resource families; and, report back in six months on the status of the their activities to engage the faith community and identify promising pilot programs based on the regional needs identified in each supervisorial district. These programs may include resource family recruitment, visitation centers and monitoring, respite care, cultural brokers, concrete supports, assessments, substance abuse counseling, and other support services.

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