Early Intervention in Child Welfare System


Youth involved in the child welfare system, like their peers in the juvenile justice system, are disproportionately members of racially/ethnically marginalized groups, live at or below the poverty line, have strained, limited, or no family connections, usually have mental health needs, and have negative educational experiences and outcomes. Many youth find themselves involved in both the juvenile justice system and the child welfare system at some point in their lives, thus requiring cross-system interventions. There are several intervention programs that can be used for youth involved in the child welfare system including home visiting programs, parent education programs, parent support groups, school-based programs, and prevention programs.


Program Models

CYPM is a model that uses a conceptual plan and organizational framework to minimize the involvement of crossover youth in the juvenile justice system by improving communication and coordination between professionals in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, providing more individualized interventions to youth, and increasing family engagement in the process. A primary goal of the CYPM is to reduce delinquency and system involvement of crossover youth by providing early, coordinated, and individualized services.

The Family Check-Up® model is a brief, strengths-based intervention for families with children ages 2 through 17. The intervention aims to improve parenting skills and family management practices, with the goals of improving a range of emotional, behavioral and academic child outcomes.

Family Spirit® is a culturally-tailored home visiting program designed for young American Indian mothers (ages 14-24) who enroll during the second trimester of pregnancy. The goal of Family Spirit® is to address intergenerational behavioral health problems and promote positive behavioral and emotional outcomes among mothers and children.

General PMTO is a group-based parenting and family functioning intervention. The intervention is designed to increase parenting skills and promote effective family management.  In the first session, the GenerationPMTO – Group facilitators engage the treatment families and begin building a collaborative group. In the following sessions, the facilitators teach parents skills such as how to: give good directions and encourage cooperation, observe and regulate emotions, teach children through contingent positive reinforcement (e.g., token systems and incentive charts), set limits and use discipline strategies, balance encouragement and discipline, use active communication, problem-solve and manage family conflicts, monitor children’s activities and behavior, encourage daily school routines and promote school success, strengthen their social support network, and balance work with play.

Healthy Families America (HFA) is a home visiting program for new and expectant families with children who are at-risk for maltreatment or adverse childhood experiences. HFA is a nationally accredited program that was developed by Prevent Child Abuse America. The overall goals of the program are to cultivate and strengthen nurturing parent-child relationships, promote healthy childhood growth and development, and enhance family functioning by reducing risk and building protective factors.

Homebuilders provides intensive, in-home counseling, skill building and support services for families who have children (0-18 years old) at imminent risk of out-of-home placement or who are in placement and cannot be reunified without intensive in-home services. Homebuilders practitioners conduct behaviorally specific, ongoing, and holistic assessments that include information about family strengths, values, and barriers to goal attainment. Homebuilders practitioners then collaborate with family members and referents in developing intervention goals and corresponding service plans. These intervention goals and service plans focus on factors directly related to the risk of out-of-home placement or reunification.

Intercept® provides intensive in-home services to children and youth at risk of entry or re-entry into out-of-home placements or who are currently in out-of-home placements (e.g., foster care, residential facilities, or group homes). The program is designed to reduce foster care utilization by providing prevention services to children and their families of origin. For children already in foster care, Intercept aims to reduce time spent in foster care by providing reunification services to children and their families of origin.

This a parent-training intervention for foster and kinship parents with a foster child in the home ages 4 to 12, designed to reduce children’s problem behaviors by strengthening foster parents’ skills. The program was found to improve child problem behaviors, increase parents’ use of positive reinforcement relative to discipline, reduce parenting stress, and increase positive exits from the foster home for children.

Parents as Teachers (PAT) is a home-visiting parent education program that teaches new and expectant parents skills intended to promote positive child development and prevent child maltreatment. PAT aims to increase parent knowledge of early childhood development, improve parenting practices, promote early detection of developmental delays and health issues, prevent child abuse and neglect, and increase school readiness and success.


Below is a list of funding opportunities that have been previously available from federal and private funding sources. Please note that although the funding deadlines may have passed, they can still be reviewed and considered for future planning purposes. You can check back often on the Announcements page for current funding opportunities as they are announced.

Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-based Program

Technical Assistance

Many federal agencies and other partners offer assistance, in addition to grant funding, to jurisdictions, agencies and stakeholders to address training needs or the need for subject matter expertise to address local issues or challenges. Through these resources, you can access recent publications, tools, often request one-on-one remote or offsite assistance. Examples of assistance can include time with trainings, consulting time with subject matter experts, and/or opportunities for connecting with peers doing similar work.


Children Bureau’s Express Training and Technical Assistance

Children’s Bureau Express (CBX) is a program through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration of Children and Families that covers news, issues, and trends of interest to professionals and policymakers in the interrelated fields of child abuse and neglect, child welfare, and adoption. The Children’s Bureau funds several technical assistance centers to provide professionals with tools to better serve children, youth, and families.