Partners for Our Children works to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families in Washington state, especially those touched by the child welfare system.
We cannot make a difference alone. Our value comes by sharing relevant research findings and data with partners, the community and others to encourage informed decision making around child welfare practice and policy. In turn, we also learn from our partners in the field.
Ultimately, we want to influence systems working with the most vulnerable children and families – and thereby, reach a far greater number of those in need than we could if working with them one-by-one. It makes our work challenging, but that only drives us to work harder.
We combine the strengths of a public research university with resources from the private sector to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families touched by Washington’s public child welfare system.
We envision children living safely at home, supported by families who have the resources and access to the services they need to thrive.
Our Focus Areas
We have a few key focus areas across our work. They are not independent of each other, but rather work together to make a greater impact on the lives of vulnerable children and families.
As an independent entity with both the research assets of a major university and strong relationships with policy makers, we are in a unique position to research and evaluate the effects of policy choices and practice changes in the public child welfare system.
Data and Analytical Support
We analyze data from the Department of Children, Youth, and Families to better understand trends within the system, and when possible, combine it with data from related systems (courts, education, etc.) to create a more complete picture of how the child welfare system operates. Findings ultimately provide critical decision support for lawmakers and agency staff.
We provide non-partisan input on proposals and legislation related to children and families in Washington state and the United States – and whenever possible, we bolster public policy discussions with solid research evidence and data.
Workforce Practice Improvement
We use research to identify training innovations to improve the workforce. As part of the Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence, POC evaluates the effectiveness of training activities of state child welfare workers in Washington. This direct connection with workers also provides important information to support our policy efforts, as well as understand trends we see in our data analyses.
Across all of these areas, we also bring our best thinking on how technology can make systems more effective and efficient.
Partners for Our Children was founded in 2007 to focus new thinking, resources and expertise on the state’s child welfare system. We are a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the state Department of Children, Youth, and Families, the University of Washington School of Social Work and private sector funding. Over the years, we have expanded our focus to include all vulnerable children and families, more of a prevention lens, and a national focus (while not losing focus on Washington state). In that context, our commitment remains focused on child well-being and those whose lives are touched by the child welfare system.