From the Alia UnSystem Innovation Cohort: What if we simply asked families?

June 1, 2023 at 11:45 AM |
Posted by: Katie Miller
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At Alia, we carry forward the lessons learned from the 5-team, 14-jurisdiction, 3-year UnSystem Innovation Cohort.

For example, from page 26 of the third Cohort case study report we read this Cohort idea: “What if our only barometer was a 1-question survey: Do you feel you are better or worse off having been engaged in the child welfare system? We could simply do more of what helped people along and less of what didn’t.” Could it be that simple?

Families often know they need support. In fact, what family doesn’t? No caregiver(s) can go it alone. What if the best safety intervention was inviting families through a deep, no-judgment assessment of needs – financial, educational, spiritual, cultural, relational – and addressing these needs as prioritized by families?  

Do families consider child welfare “services” as in service to their or their child’s needs? Which (if any) child welfare offerings do families want? Perhaps if children are unsafe (How? As determined by who?) parents don’t get a say. Do caregivers who neglect or abuse their children deserve to have input? If you see child wellbeing as directly related to the wellbeing of their caregivers, then they must be included regardless of how anyone determines their worthiness to do so.

Three years of Alia UnSystem Innovation Cohort ideas, outcomes, and lessons learned are shared in a series of three case studies: an introduction to the Cohort, year one learning, and a final report. Read through for more about what these teams of child welfare leaders and lived experts wrestled with in their systems transformation work.

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Access all three Cohort case studies on our website