Share This Page:


To help families achieve positive outcomes, child welfare systems throughout the country, including Pennsylvania, have strengthened their approaches to practice. Practice models guide the work of those involved with the child welfare system to work together to improve outcomes for children, youth and families. Practice models serve as the "explicit link connecting...policy, practice, training, supervision and quality assurance with its mission, values, and strategic plan" (NRCOI, 2008). The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement's 2012 "Guide for Developing and Implementing Child Welfare Practice Models" outlines that a clearly articulated practice model helps:

  • Child welfare executives, administrators and managers: identify the outcomes they hope to achieve; develop a vision and consistent rationale for organizational and policy decision; decide how to use agency resources; define staff performance expectations; develop an array of services; create a qualitative review case review system; collaborate with families and youth; and work across systems.
  • Supervisors fulfill their role as keepers of the agency's culture with responsibility for: training, guiding and supporting frontline staff; monitoring and assessing staff performance and child/family outcomes; modeling the agency's values and approach to working with families; and observing and advocating for needed change.
  • Child Welfare Workers have: a consistent basis for decision making; clear expectations and values for their approach to working with families, children, and youth; a focus on desired outcomes; guidance in working with service providers and other child welfare serving systems; and a way to evaluate their own performance.
  • The Community, the network of stakeholders, and children, youth and families to engage with the agency in fulfilling it's mission by: ensuring effective and consistent practice; articulating the need for funding; and clarifying the purpose and scope of the (child welfare system; and communicating the values, principles and skills the child welfare system should possess as well as the outcomes the child welfare system hopes to achieve.)


Pennsylvania's Child Welfare Practice Model outlines that children, youth, families, child welfare representatives and other child and family service partners need to work together as team members with the shared community responsibility to achieve positive outcomes. These outcomes can be achieved by consistently modeling the values and principles at every level and across all partnerships and by demonstrating the specific and essential skills to be utilized across all aspects of the child welfare system.

PA Child Welfare Practice Model

For more information about Pennsylvania's Child Welfare Practice model, please contact Jeanne Edwards at