Case Story: Build a Strong Foundation

Build a Strong Foundation: How Child Welfare Agencies in Alaska's Matanuska-Susitna Borough (Mat-Su) Improved Family Contact and Set the Stage for Future Family Engagement

This case story presents lessons learned from the Family Contact Improvement Partnership (FCIP), a cross-sector collaboration between agencies working with children in the foster care system to improve family contact procedures in Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna Borough (Mat-Su).

Part of a larger project entitled the Early Childhood Health Equity Landscape Project (ECHE), this case story is one of three that highlights bright spots in multi-sector early childhood health equity initiatives around the country with the common themes of meeting the diverse needs of families and community providers; and committing to lift the voice of and center families and caregivers (individually and collectively). Strategies of family engagement used by BHB’s HFA home visiting programs include:

  • Creating a culture of collaboration
  • Understanding the stories behind the numbers
  • Coordinating services prioritization across the city for families
  • Working collaboratively to ensure family and home visitor relationships are strong
  • Adopting a strengths-based and holistic approach to supporting families

A related set of issue briefs titled Addressing Early Childhood Health Equity in Communities and States highlight the themes and findings that emerged across the project activities. Key themes gathered through the ECHE Landscape survey included cross-sector relationships, operationalization of health equity, adaptation of initiatives to the COVID-19 pandemic, data and measurement, sustainability, and connections between local and state ECHE initiatives.

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