Increasing capacity to keep children and families safe and thriving

Grounded in evidence-based change management practices, the Capacity Building Center for States transforms the way child welfare agencies work to keep families healthy, together, and strong.



Events to support organizational change


States and territories working to improve outcomes for children, youth, and families

Public child welfare agencies face the challenging and vital task of partnering with diverse and complex communities to keep children and families safe and thriving at the state and local levels.


To provide public child welfare agencies with the support they need to keep children and families safe and thriving, the Children’s Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requested a comprehensive set of services. The agency sought tools and strategies that were informed by the people receiving services, grounded in race equity, and supported by good change management practices.

Our team of experts—including 35 people who have lived experience with child welfare—creates integrated services that can transform how agencies work, enabling them to make lasting practice and system improvements that help keep families healthy, together, and strong.

The Capacity Building Center for States (under the Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative) provides:

  • Tailored consultation and coaching directly to jurisdictions
  • Publications and learning resources on timely policy and practice issues
  • National peer groups of child welfare professionals that virtually connect to problem solve and learn
  • Access to national child welfare expertise, including best and promising practices, data, and the current state of the field

We work shoulder to shoulder with states and territories across the nation to help agencies and their partners become more prevention-focused, build cultures of equity and inclusion, develop training for the workforce, support strategic planning, and develop strategies and tools to improve outcomes for the children, youth, and families they serve.

The project’s services are formally evaluated to ensure they meet objectives. The resulting data contributes to the Children’s Bureau’s knowledge and understanding of the best ways to support public child welfare agencies.

Where we are now

We’re bringing child welfare professionals together to solve problems, putting tools and resources in the hands of workers, and working directly with jurisdictions across the nation on tailored projects to make lasting system and practice improvements.


child welfare professionals from all 50 states and four territories engaged in events each year


downloads of publications and learning resources annually


direct service projects across the nation resulting in new knowledge for child welfare professionals, new interventions and practice changes, and increased engagement of families and youth in decision-making

"I appreciated that this was not just a lecture with statistics and graphs. These were real people, telling their stories with real people adding their voices to show how working together as a collaborative team can change lives."

Knowledge and Skills event participant

Advancing race equity, diversity, and inclusion

Disproportionality and disparities for children and families of color in child welfare and related systems are a longstanding challenge. Addressing it takes an intentional focus on equity to ensure quality services for all children and families. The Capacity Building Center for States is committed to helping agencies and their partners shift practices to better address racial and ethnic disparities. In the same way that the Center works to model authentic integration of lived expertise, it is also working to become a model for what enhancing equity, addressing oppression, and reducing disparity can look like in practice.

Collaboration as a core competency

Through the Capacity Building Center for States, we serve as the Children’s Bureau’s principal vehicle for delivering centralized, coordinated, and high-quality services to states and territories. Since its launch in 2014, the Center has continued to build a national child welfare culture supportive of using data and evaluation, evidence-informed innovations in practice, and strategies to facilitate organizational change.

We collaborate closely with the Children’s Bureau’s regional offices and other federally funded services to ensure support is holistic and aligned. As a part of our services, we bring a pool of nationally recognized experts on key topics such as adoption, change and implementation, child protection, continuous quality improvement and data, family empowerment, foster care and permanency, prevention, workforce development, youth development, and beyond.
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