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One year after announcing the formation of the National Partnership for Child Safety (NPCS), the partnership is announcing major milestones in implementing a safety culture across child welfare systems.

Designed as a quality improvement collaborative with a mission to improve child safety and prevent child maltreatment fatalities, NPCS is committed to strengthening families and promoting innovations in child welfare.

Participation Growth

The NPCS currently includes the participation of 32 state, county and tribal child and family-serving child welfare jurisdictions who are assessing and applying safety science principles in their agencies.

Jurisdictions new to the partnership over the past year include: The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services; the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services; the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services; the New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department; the Virginia Department of Social Services; and the West Virginia Bureau for Social Services.  

“The partnership has reached several critical milestones in its work to integrate safety science across child welfare systems,” noted Jodi Hill-Lilly, deputy commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and executive committee co-chair of the National Partnership for Child Safety.

These include the implementation of a system-focused critical incident review process, the launch of the NPCS Data Warehouse to facilitate data sharing across jurisdictions, the development of a data dictionary, on-going peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and preliminary discussions about how to integrate community voice and those with lived experience.” 

“Through these measures to share critical incident insights across jurisdictions, the partnership aims to improve child safety and child protection system outcomes overall,” said Chip Spinning, executive director of Franklin County Children Services in Ohio and executive committee co-chair of the National Partnership for Child Safety.

Working together to integrate child safety approaches, we hope to reduce the number of child fatalities and near fatalities, decrease repeat maltreatment, improve workforce retention, and decrease racial inequities across child welfare systems.” 

Safety science and sharing data

Safety science provides a framework and processes for child protection agencies to understand the inherently complex nature of the work and the factors that influence decision-making. It also provides a safe and supportive environment for professionals to process, share and learn from critical incidents. 

Enhancing the ability of child welfare agencies to share data and use data to identify and protect children at risk of maltreatment or fatality will help save children’s lives.

To strengthen accountability, promote collaboration and improve child safety outcomes, members of this partnership are sharing data and applying a set of strategies, including implementing a standardized platform for critical incident review and reporting of data, comparing critical incident and team culture data, sharing cross-jurisdictional safety notices and more. 

The partnership will periodically review improvement over baselines on safety culture survey targets as a measurement of success over time. 

Casey Family Programs

The partnership is supported by Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest operating foundation focused on safely reducing the need for foster care in the United States.

Founded in 1966, Casey Family Programs works in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and with tribal nations across North America to influence long-lasting improvements to the well-being of children, families and the communities where they live.

Center for Innovation in Population Health

The Center for Innovation in Population Health, housed at the University of Kentucky's College of Public Health, heads the technical assistance team, led by Michael Cull, PhD. Dr. Cull and his team, work with partners around the world and represent 25+ years of clinical and research experience in public child welfare, systems-theoretical approaches to critical incident review, and systems improvement.

Here is an overview of their approach. The National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention at MPHI serves as the data warehouse for the partnership.  

About the National Partnership for Child Safety (NPCS) 

The National Partnership for Child Safety (NPCS), initially formed in 2018, is a quality improvement collaborative to improve child safety and reduce child maltreatment fatalities through the application of safety science and shared data.

Members of the collaborative have a shared goal of strengthening families, promoting innovations and a public health response to reducing and preventing child maltreatment and fatalities.

Through support and partnership with Casey Family Programs, members of this collaborative are receiving technical assistance from the Center for Innovation in Population Health at the University of Kentucky.

The partnership is member directed and every partner has representation on the Executive Committee and other partner-wide committees and workgroups to help direct partnership activities.