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

Program Overview

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.

Program Goals

The overall goals of Parents as Partners are:

  • Engage parents in services
  • Provide a parents' perspective to agency personnel

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Parents as Partners.

Essential Components

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

Program Delivery

Parent/Caregiver Services

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.

Recommended Intensity:

The contacts vary based on the specific case issues. Usually they are in contact 1-2 times per week for 1 hour or more.

Recommended Duration:

This is based on the case specific needs. Sometimes it is a few weeks and in some circumstances they stay involved for several months.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Public Child Welfare Agency (Dept. of Social Services, etc.)


This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • Supervisory staff
  • Desks/computers/phone
  • Training/professional development

Manuals 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).

Manual Information

There is not a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

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.

Additional References

New York City Administration for Children’s Services. (2007). Parents as partners. Retrieved from

Contact Information

Michael Arsham
Agency/Affiliation: NYC Administration for Children's Services
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