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Child Welfare Virtual Expo 2020 – Family Engagement: A Collaborative Process for Systems Change
The theme of the fifth annual Virtual Expo “Strengthening Families Through Prevention and Collaboration”, will provide information and strategies to help agencies strengthen families, support implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), and create prevention-oriented child welfare systems that focus on keeping families together and improving the lives of children, youth, and families.
This session explores the question of how to change a system designed to protect children from their families to one that supports families to keep their children safe and healthy. The session examines the question from several perspectives, including that of a mother and son with lived experience and leaders who set the tone and direction for putting families at the center of child welfare work through strategies such as family finding, father engagement, and icebreaker conversations. Finally, the session highlights the literal and spiritual interconnection of Native families and how to engage families in a trauma-informed manner.
Dennis Alford coordinates quality assurance case reviews and continuous performance improvement activities at the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). As the state’s public child welfare agency, Kansas DCF is committed to achieving performance excellence and reaching the highest outcomes for children and families. Mr. Alford joined Kansas DCF in 2012 as a Child Protective Services social worker. He has served in several capacities at the agency, including as Kansas Interstate Compact for Placement of Children/Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance program manager, adoption program manager, and, most recently, foster care program manager. Mr. Alford’s work experience also includes 2 years with the Arkansas Department for Human Services.