Parents as Partners
About This Program
Target Population: Parents involved with the Child Welfare System through a protective investigation
For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 17
New York City Children’s Services developed the Parents as Partners program to improve their ability to engage parents. By employing parents who have experience with the system as Family Specialists, Children’s Services capitalizes on the opportunity to sensitize child welfare staff to the client perspective. In addition, parents coming into the system can connect with Family Specialists who share a mutual understanding of their experience and can actively relate to their situation.Family Specialists provide crucial advice and guidance regarding expectations of parents and services available to them. The Family Specialists also provide essential feedback that can be utilized to improve the effectiveness of the system.
Family Specialists work closely with and in support of birth parents with children in foster care and families receiving preventive services. This program improves the agency’s ability to:
- Engage parents
- Inform policy and program decision-making
- Enhance training and staff development by providing insight to professionals from the perspective of parents.
The overall goals of Parents as Partners are:
- Engage parents in services
- Provide a parents' perspective to agency personnel
Essential components of Parents as Partners include:
- Family specialists/advocates who are former clients of the system - this is integral to the purpose of the program since they can relate to the experiences of the clients and this way they are able to engage clients
- Support for the specialists as equal members of the staff
- Guidance regarding case issues and how to advocate effectively for the clients
- Direct interaction via presence at meetings/visits/etc to support the client and get clarity on the issues in the case
- Training and development for the specialists/advocates
Parents as Partners directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:
- Challenges navigating the child welfare system; need for support regarding interaction with the case planning agency; assistance toward discharge goals and accessing services; and lack of understanding of responsibility in the case planning process.
The contacts vary based on the specific case issues. Usually they are in contact 1-2 times per week for 1 hour or more.
This is based on the case specific needs. Sometimes it is a few weeks and in some circumstances they stay involved for several months.
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Community Agency
- Department of Social Services
This program does not include a homework component.
Resources Needed to Run Program
The typical resources for implementing the program are:
- Supervisory staff
- Training/professional development
Education and Training
Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications
Supervisors should have Master's level degree in social work or other related field and child welfare experience. Specialists should have their own personal experience with the system, have achieved discharge goals, preferably professional experience, and some work as advocate (but not necessary).
Education and Training Resources
There is not a manual that describes how to implement this program ; but there is training available for this program.
- Michael Arsham
phone: (917) 551-7967
Training is obtained:
Informal consultation is available.
Number of days/hours:
On an as-needed, consultation basis.
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Parents as Partners.
New York City Administration for Children’s Services. (2007). Parents as partners. Retrieved from http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/acs/pdf/advocacy/parent_handbook.pdf
- Michael Arsham
- Agency/Affiliation: NYC Administration for Children's Services
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: (917) 551-7967
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2014
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: October 2017
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2010