Success Coach Service

About This Program

Target Population: Families who have a child leave the foster care system into a permanent placement. For adoptive families, children must have a finalized adoption, be under 21 at time of services, and reside within service area

For children/adolescents ages: 0 – 20

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 20

Program Overview

The Success Coach Service (SCS) is a voluntary service that provides ongoing support and enhanced case management to children and families in an array of post-care services. The primary goals of the Success Coach are to support the family providing a stable and safe environment for their children, to build family resiliency, and to implement support services building a positive long-term effect on strengthening the permanent placement and enhancing child wellbeing for children who achieve permanency. Success Coaches work with the families to assess their strengths and needs, create a success plan, and achieve their goals. This is done through reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors via monthly face-to-face sessions with the family. However, these sessions can be completed through virtual means, community visits, or other settings to meet the needs of the family.

Program Goals

The goals of Success Coach Service are:

  • Reduce risk of repeat maltreatment
  • Reduce the risk of reentry to foster care (placement stability)
  • Increase social support for the family
  • Increase family self-sufficiency
  • Increase family’s ability to manage crises
  • Increase parenting skills
  • Increase parent’s ability to advocate for and access services
  • Increase parent’s ability to access medical and mental health services

Logic Model

View the Logic Model for Success Coach Service.

Essential Components

The essential components of Success Coach Service include:

  • Uses a practice profile to guide the program and help a Success Coach to define:
    • The philosophical principles:
      • Encompass the following characteristics:
        • Family-centered
        • Strengths-based
        • Well-being-focused
        • Empowerment-driven
        • Culturally sensitive
        • Trauma-informed
        • Team-oriented
        • Ethical
      • Provide guidance for the Success Coach’s interactions with:
        • The families
        • The agency
        • The community
      • Guide the Success Coaches’ decisions and ensure:
        • Consistency
        • Integrity
        • Sustainable effort for anyone employed in the role
    • Essential functions and core activities
      • Consist of the following:
        • Engagement
        • Crisis Prevention and Intervention
        • Assessment
        • Goal Planning
        • Service Coordination and Collaboration
        • Skill Building and Reinforcement
        • Advocacy
      • Define the role of Success Coaches
      • Inform activities within each of the phases of work
      • Provided by a Success Coach who works in partnership with the family
      • Demonstrated through core activities within each essential function
    • Program review process
      • Consists of:
        • Assuring an intentional focus on using data to improve- effective implementation, model fidelity, and quality service delivery/ staff competency
        • Requiring a team approach
        • Identifying barriers and facilitators to implementation and service delivery
        • Encouraging use of a small tests of change
        • Closing the feedback loop
      • Allows a critical look at the Success Coach Service on a regular basis:
        • Review of actual services
        • Review of fidelity to the model
        • Assesses for changes that need to be made
    • Ongoing coaching model for Success Coaches:
      • Consists of:
        • Coaching plan
        • Individual Coaching Sessions
        • Team Staffing
        • In-Home Observations
        • Case File Reviews
      • Supports the work throughout the Success Coaches career
      • Supports the work Success Coaches do on an everyday basis

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Success Coach Service directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Problematic behaviors
  • Difficult interactions and relationship/communication with parent(s)
  • Issues related to trauma and/or adoption story
  • Lack of overall well-being
  • Academic problems
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Additional family members or other support system can be involved in the family’s direct service in child and family team meetings or collateral contacts. Other support (e.g., therapy, school, etc.) can also include other adults or children living in the home or other support systems as needed to address family goals with family permission and consents.

Parent/Caregiver Services

Success Coach Service directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Difficulty working with service providers
  • Difficulty getting services in place for children or family
  • Parent of a child(ren) with behavioral struggles
  • Struggling with basic need issues (e.g., financial issues, safety issues, emotional/mental health issues, housing issues, health issues, etc.)
  • Parent-child relationship struggles
  • Lack of trauma knowledge
  • Lack of parenting skills
  • Trouble navigating educational system to meet child’s needs

Recommended Intensity:

Families typically meet with a Success Coach averaging 1-3 hours in the home each month, typically occurring at one visit. Visits can take place outside the home as needed and appropriate. Frequency of visits is recommended based on the number of risk and protective factors identified in the assessment phase so it can adjust as needed.

Recommended Duration:

Up to 2 years

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Adoptive Home
  • Birth Family Home
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)
  • Virtual (Online, Telephone, Video, Zoom, etc.)


Success Coach Service includes a homework component:

Although there is not a formal homework component, Success Coaches encourage families to try new skills taught and review and process the experience at visits.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Personnel, computers, phones, funds for families to receive financial support and/or respite (if desired)

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree in social work, human services, or related field and 2 years of relevant work experience; or a Master’s degree in Social Work or Human Services related field

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

Manual information: • Catawba County Social Services. (2022). Success Coach Service manual. Catawba County Social Services. Manual can be accessed online through the program contact. Hard copies are also available on site at Catawba Social Services, or other replication sites.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Trainings are set up between purveyor and training site, as agreed upon. Training is typically held on purveyor site, but in certain situations has been provided through virtual means.

Number of days/hours:

The initial training is held over 3 days. The supervisor and Success Coaches attend the same training. The purveyor provides implementation technical assistance to the new site Success Coach Supervisor monthly for 1-2 hours to support replication for 1-year post training.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Rushovich, B., Sepulveda, K., Efetevbia, V., & Malm, K. (2021). A post-reunification service model: Implementation and population served. Children and Youth Services Review, 122, Article 105928.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 85 families


  • Age — Parents: Mean=37 years; Children: Mean=9 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Parents: 81 White and 12 Black; Children: 102 White, 21 Unknown/Missing, 19 Black, 10 Hispanic/Latina, and 3 American Indian/Alaskan Native
  • Gender — Parents: 71 Female; Children: 78 Female
  • Status — Participants were involved in their county Department of Social Services.

Location/Institution: Catawba County Department of Social Services (in Catawba County, North Carolina), and five other counties adjacent to Catawba County

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
(To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations) The purpose of the study was to present descriptive information on the 25 families that enrolled in and received Success Coach Service (SCS) and 38 families in a control group using data from baseline and follow-up surveys and administrative data to examine safety, placement stability, and well-being. Families were randomly assigned either to receive services from SCS (the treatment group) or to receive whatever services were usually available to them in the community (the control group). Measures utilized include the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Survey, the Mini Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (Mini-CANS), the Protective Factors Survey (PFS), and the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH). Results indicate that nine children (45%) in the treatment group and 21 children (60%) in the control group were the alleged victim of a maltreatment allegation made after the family agreed to participate in the study. One child in the treatment group (5%) and two children in the control group (6%) re-entered care during the study period, with the rest remaining at home. Approximately half of the families in both groups reported similar or improved protective factors from baseline to follow-up. Parents were reluctant to engage with SCS partly due to prior negative experiences with child welfare services. Parents who did choose to work with a SCS were overwhelmingly positive about the service they received. SCS reported high levels of need among families and low levels of community and natural support. Limitations include that only 25 (27.8%) of eligible families randomized to Success Coach services agreed to participate in services, resulting in a study sample that was too small to detect statistically significant differences between the groups, and that the findings reflect experiences of six counties in a primarily rural area and may not be representative of all families that reunify with their children.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: None.

Additional References

Rushovich, B., & Malm, K. (2019). Lessons learned when building the evidence for a child welfare practice model.

Metz, A., Bartley, L., Ball, H., Wilson, D., Naoom, S., & Redmond, P. (2015). Active implementation frameworks for successful service delivery: Catawba County child wellbeing project. Research on Social Work Practice, 25(4), 415–422.

White, K., Rolock, N., Cho, Y., Diamant-Wilson, R., & Fong, R. (2019). Evaluation results from Catawba County, North Carolina-Final evaluation report. In N. Rolock & R. Fong (Eds.). Supporting adoption and guardianship: Evaluation of the National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation (QIC-AG)-Final evaluation report. (pp. 8-1 – 8-51). Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau.

Contact Information

Christina Triplett, MSW
Title: LCSW
Agency/Affiliation: Success Coach Services, Catawba County Social Services
Phone: (828) 695-4288
Sarah Bolick, MSW
Agency/Affiliation: Success Coach Services, Catawba County Social Services
Phone: (828) 695-6343

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: July 2023

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: August 2023

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: August 2023