Policy-Makers Identify Keys to Promoting Family Support Interventions

State Leadership Policy Forums On Community-Based Family Support Services

In 1997 and 1998, the Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington conducted two state leadership policy forums on systemic reforms to improve state and state-federal services for families and children.

The forums brought together teams of high-level state policymakers and individuals experienced in starting or promoting community-based family support from 16 communities in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

They sought to develop guidance for communities and states about strategies to strengthen and expand family support programs, build statewide family support networks, and link family support more closely with broader child and family service system reform.

Key Findings

As a direct result of the forums, the grantee drew the following conclusions about how to best link family support with systems change:

  • The neighborhood-based aspect of support and service strategies is essential.
  • Networks of family support must be community-specific, and public systems must individually link with each network.
  • The most useful materials for communities as they develop goals and strategies are a set of principles and extensive examples of what has worked for other communities.
  • Peer technical assistance is effective for people at all levels.

Key Results

In addition, the Center for the Study of Social Policy started a "peer-to-peer" technical assistance network consisting of state and local officials with considerable family support program and policy experience.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project with a grant of $139,367 from August 1995 to October 1996.

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