Bester, San Francisco efforts receive Jim Casey Building Communities of Hope Awards
Casey Family Programs is pleased to announce the recipients of Jim Casey Building Communities of Hope Awards. Named in honor of the founder of Casey Family Programs, these awards recognize communities that have brought together public, business, nonprofit, philanthropic and community partners to improve the safety and success of children and their families.
San Francisco Family Resource Center Initiative, San Francisco, California
San Francisco has reduced the substantiated rate of child abuse by 60 percent and the rate of children in care by 52 percent since 2008 as a result, in part, of its Family Resource Center (FRC) Initiative — a public-private investment in 26 FRCs networked strategically throughout the community. Family Resource Centers provide a range of supportive parenting services such as child care, counseling, education, mentoring, care management, concrete needs like food and diapers, and other activities that strengthen families and build protective factors proven to mitigate maltreatment. San Francisco’s Initiative promotes a public-health, multigenerational approach to improve child welfare; advocates for tracking data and evaluation; and leverages resources among multisector and communitywide partners. The Children’s Bureau of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families recently recognized San Francisco-based Safe & Sound and its Integrated Family Services model — a partnership with Casey Family Programs, with potential to expand throughout the field — as a “particularly effective, promising approach” in urging the adoption of primary prevention strategies to protect children and promote positive outcomes. Children’s Bureau Associate Commissioner Jerry Milner has visited Safe & Sound and highlights its work as a national example when discussing the potential impact of the Family First Prevention Services Act.
Bester Community of Hope, Hagerstown, Maryland
The Bester community in Hagerstown, Maryland, can be a challenging place for families to raise children safely, with a high poverty rate, health challenges and a high rate of children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. In the face of these challenges, San Mar Family & Community Services began questioning the value of their group home and foster placement services and whether there was a better approach to improving the safety of children and their families. Based on their discussions, San Mar decided to shift their focus from treatment to prevention. They formed a partnership with Casey Family Programs to launch a demonstration project for a new approach to child welfare. Hagerstown is a place where public and private organizations — nonprofits, philanthropies, government, businesses and communities — collaborate closely to build a Community of Hope. They focus on prevention with a place-based strategy for positive outcomes for children and families located in the Bester Elementary School neighborhood. The early outcomes have been promising: Bester Elementary was identified by Washington County Public Schools as having the most improved attendance in Washington County, and the Maryland Center for Character Education at Stevenson University awarded Bester Elementary the 2017-2018 School of the Year award.