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Partnering with Families and Communities
-April 10, 2013

This free webcast, which was filmed at the Magnolia Place Family Center in Los Angeles, California, focused on community-based initiatives to prevent child abuse and neglect by meeting the needs of families. NRCPFC Director Dr. Gerald P. Mallon spoke with administrators, staff, and parents who are a part of the Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project (PIDP) in Los Angeles about their experiences with this approach. Presenters explored how neighborhood-based agencies/centers can partner with each other and with families to become an integrated, positive part of community life. Presenters discussed the following three strategies to support positive outcomes for children, youth, and families: decreasing social isolation by connecting families to each other; addressing issues of economic security; and increasing access to available resources.

  • Jacquelyn McCroskey, John Milner Professor of Child Welfare, University of Southern California School of Social Work; Evaluator and Lead for the PIDP Evaluation Team, which is supported by Casey Family Programs
  • Alex Morales, President & CEO, Children’s Bureau of Southern California

Shields for Families

  • Dr. Kathryn Icenhower, Chief Executive Officer, Shields for Families
  • Audrey Tousant, Child Welfare Administrator, Shields for Families
  • Elia Astudillo, Case Manager, Family Support/PIPD, Shields for Families
  • Miriam Rodriguez, Mother of Five, Family Support/PIPD, Shields for Families

Friends of the Family

  • Deborah Davies, Director of Programs, Friends of the Family
  • Roberto De Los Santos, Male Involvement Coordinator, Friends of the Family
  • Ruben Herrera, Father, Mentor, Young Dads Program, Friends of the Family



  • NRCPFC Hot Topic Webpages
    The following Hot Topic pages provide descriptions and links for resources from the Children’s Bureau, T&TA Network, and collaborating organizations, including publications; archived webinars and webcasts; evidence-based practice, research, and reports; and links to relevant websites.
  • Children’s Bureau of Southern California
    The Children’s Bureau of Southern California helps strengthen families with young children and the communities in which they live by focusing their efforts on four interlocking goals: nurturing parenting, school readiness, good health, and economic stability. Children’s Bureau has expertise in areas such as school readiness, parenting, family resource centers, support groups, mental health counseling, foster care, adoption and more. Additionally, Children’s Bureau conducts research and advocates for investment in the early years.

    • Magnolia Place Family Center
      Magnolia Place Family Center serves as a community hub for at-risk families and provides comprehensive programs and services in four key areas to strengthen families: nurturing parenting, economic stability, good health, and school readiness. Children's Bureau and their in-house community partners offer families: access to quality medical and dental care; a comprehensive child development center; classes on parenting, child care, and family economics; mental health services; legal assistance; foster care and adoption; and Los Angeles County services. Magnolia Place Family Center is also a gathering place for the community to meet, share and socialize with their families and neighbors.

  • Friends of the Family
    Friends of the Family is among the most highly regarded family resource centers in Southern California. The organization provides a safety net of support for families as they struggle to care for their children in the face of multiple challenges including poverty, community violence, isolation, language barriers, and inadequate schools.

  • SHIELDS for Families
    Shields for Families develops, delivers, and evaluates culturally sensitive, comprehensive service models that empower and advocate for high-risk families in South Los Angeles.

Reports and Journal Articles

  • Can Public Child Welfare Help to Prevent Child Maltreatment? Promising Findings from Los Angeles
    Thisarticle describes promising findings from the Los Angeles County Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project, a systems change approach to developing relationships between public child welfare, allied public agencies, and community-based networks that offer family-centered services, economic assistance, and capacity building to support all kinds of families. It describes the conceptual underpinnings and unique structure of the initiative, the evaluation methods used to assess results, and a pattern of promising results. J. McCroskey, P. J. Pecora; T. Franke, C. A. Christie, & J. Lorthridge. Journal of Family Strengths: Vol. 12: Iss. 1, Article 5. (2012).
  • Strengthening Families and Communities to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect: Lessons from the Los Angeles Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project
    The Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project, funded by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), is a community-specific strategy delivered through eight regional networks designed to address the full spectrum of community-based prevention. This article summarizes a strong and meaningful pattern of improvements found in the second year evaluation for three groups of families—those living in high-risk communities but not involved with DCFS, those being investigated by DCFS for possible child maltreatment, and those with open DCFS cases. J. McCroskey, P. J. Pecora, T. Franke, C. A. Christie & J. Lorthridge. (2012). Child Welfare, 91(2): 39-59.
  • Strategies for Improving Child Welfare Services for Families of Color: First Findings of a Community-Based Initiative in Los Angeles
    A disproportionate number of families served in child welfare are families of color. But relatively few strategies for helping families of color have been monitored for their impact. This article reports early findings from a Los Angeles County based public child welfare office that has continuously developed, tracked, and has now begun to assess strategies supporting preservation and reunification of families of color. Some promising trends revealed by a four year data period include the reduction of number of African-American children within the caseload, reductions in substantiated referrals and removals. The most recently developed strategy, which uses specialized four person case management teams, was evaluated through the use of a comparison group. Public agency data revealed that families served by the team, compared with families served through customary agency services, had improved outcomes, including a higher percentage of cases closed with the child remaining in the home, and greater permanency exits from foster care. Additionally, the data revealed that the case management team developed to mitigate disproportionality among African-American families also improved outcomes for Hispanic/Latino families. J. Lorthridge, J. McCroskey, P. J. Pecora, R. Chambers, & M. Fatemi. Children and Youth Services Review, 34:281-88. (2012) Please note: This article is available for purchase.

Tools for Child Welfare Organizations

  • Father Friendly Checkup for Child Welfare Agencies and Organizations
    The “Father Friendly Checkup for Child Welfare Agencies and Organizations” by The National Quality Improvement Center on Non-Resident Fathers and the Child Welfare System, National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), American Humane Association, and American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, was developed to help organizations assess how well they welcome and encourage fathers in several areas. (2008)