Working to transform the child welfare system.


The Future of Child Welfare: Relationships at the Center

“The gathering was particularly powerful thanks to those who shared their lived experience, their unique perspectives, and their hard won knowledge. We are especially grateful for the participation of the youth and young adults who have committed to showing up and who are making a difference… So many of our speakers shared powerful experiences of lost connections and lost relationships and having to work against the odds to maintain relationships. I invite each of you to consider how to keep our sights on relationships in child welfare. What we’ve heard is a call to always consider the impact on relationships whenever we weigh policy reforms, design programs, or develop case plans. We also heard about lost opportunities —  but we can no longer abide lost opportunities – lost opportunities to maintain bonds, to create and nurture healthy relationships, and to build relational skills for children, youth, and families involved in the child welfare system. Thank you again, to all of our speakers who delivered this message so poignantly.”

-Emiko Tajima, Executive Director, Partners for Our Children


On October 10, 2019, approximately 90 people gathered for The Future of Child Welfare: Relationships at the Center, a full-day congressional listening session about child welfare priorities for the 116th Congress. The voice of youth and parents with lived experience in the system persisted throughout the day as congressional representatives, state representatives, and other stakeholders widely drawn from fields intersecting with child welfare.  Participants were offered on-the-ground perspective of immediate needs and long-term challenges, as well as the benefits of the system’s protection when partnerships with families are valued and families are given what they need to succeed. The event was co-sponsored by the University of Washington, Partners for Our Children, and Casey Family Programs and developed by a stakeholder planning committee.

View the program and hanouts below.

View the sessions here:

The Power of Relationships

Elevating Youth Voice Panel

Lunch & Remarks from The Honorable Representative Danny Davis

ICWA: The Gold Standard of Child Welfare Practice

Remarks From The Honorable Representative Suzan DelBene

A Family Reunification Story