Loving connection to family is the foundation of lifelong health and wellbeing. As part of our efforts to ensure that all children experience an uninterrupted sense of connection and belonging to their family, we are hosting three Summits in 2020 to provide next-level learning in leadership and practice in child welfare. 


In response to COVID-19, we recently published a newsletter describing what steps we at Alia are taking, and what you can be saying to your child during this time. Read that newsletter here.

True transformation in child welfare comes when we redefine our beliefs about what children need. (They need their families to be okay.)

….By avoiding out-of-family placement we change our measures of success to not only protect children’s physical safety, but also to safeguard their hearts.

Our current system is designed to keep youth from physical harm, and separation often happens. We now know that children cannot thrive without also healing the grief and loss that come after separation from a caregiver, and that the wellbeing of caregivers has a direct impact on this healing process. After decades of changing lives child by child, Alia sets its sights on bringing those innovations to a larger scale: to revolutionize the child welfare system.

We must disrupt the old way and redesign a new just and loving way of working with families where healing from separation is not necessary, because separation does not exist.

Read our story

We are convening a cohort of changemakers across the country to use UnSystem Guiding Principles as a vision for child welfare system transformation.

Our goal is for every child to remain in the uninterrupted care of an already-trusted adult; where there is never a disruption to his or her sense of connection and belonging. We aim to re-design systems to utilize family-driven responses to struggling parents, preserving familial bonds in any way possible, to the extent safely possible.

An UnSystem is an idea that was born in May 2017 at the 10 of 10 for Kids national convening where we brought together 100+ innovators and thought leaders from inside and outside the field to reimagine child welfare. We hoped to identify one or two prototypes of a radically different child welfare system and a short list of guiding principles we could all agree to uphold as our north star.

Traditional Child Welfare System

The constructed Child Welfare System is an artificial family system
Blame Punish Shame

The constructed system dismantles and adds more pressure on families in times of challenge rather than supporting the family back to balance & wellbeing.

An UnSystem

The original Child Welfare System is the natural family system
  • Whole family at center
  • Focus on building resilience, joy,
    wellbeing & health
  • Locally delivered resources - immediately
  • Supportive, consistent connection
  • Family-driven, culturally specific supports
  • Support rather than dismantle/value on
    family ties that bind
  • Natural community supports

What happened?

Ten of Ten for kids

Our May 2017 design event

We were brave and vulnerable. It was hopeful, optimistic, and messy too. We came out the other side together as a community of innovators committed to supporting parents and caregivers and improving the lives of children who cannot live safely at home.

100 Designers (10 Groups of 10) 8 Alia Staff 44 Volunteers 1000s Connections Made 38 Founders/Donors 30% People With Lived Experience In Child Welfare 10 Experienced Facilitators 3.5 Days in Minneapolis 4 Ideo Human-centered design experts 6 Guiding principles of child welfare (Initial draft) 65 Vendors & 1000s Ideas Shared 30 Initial prototypes of ideas to transform child welfare

Ten of Ten for Kids: The Experience

Think of Us, a non-profit dedicated to leveraging technology to improve the lives of foster youth aging out of the system, captured the Ten of Ten experience.

Take the next step on reducing childhood trauma.

Get More Information