Stronger advocates, better policies, improved outcomes for kids
State child welfare advocates are a powerful force in delivering change for America’s abused and neglected children. Yet too often, policy change occurs in reaction to a crisis and fails to adequately address the core challenges facing children and families involved with the child welfare system. More needs be done to proactively build on what works to support at-risk children and families and involve the collective efforts of multiple systems and stakeholders.

SPARC is driven by a firm belief that a stronger network of state advocates can lead to policies that deliver better outcomes for children. An improved child welfare system would pay equal attention to the importance of:

  • preventing abuse and neglect whenever possible,
  • intervening swiftly and effectively to keep families together when children are at risk of entering the foster
  • care system, and
  • ensuring that children who need the temporary safe haven of foster care can thrive while in care and
  • beyond.

Building skills for child welfare advocacy
Policy advocacy skills. SPARC facilitates hands-on policy strategy advice and coaching through a diverse network of SPARC partners, including:

  • Strategic advice on key policy goals and strategies from SPARC TA partners.
  • Connections to leading experts in the field with expertise on a range of policies across the child welfare continuum.
  • 1:1 peer coaching from other state advocates who have promoted similar policy issues in the states.
  • Promoting legislative or regulatory changes designed to improve outcomes for child welfare involved children and families.

Communications strategies. SPARC supports advocates in generating child welfare communications strategies that
will lead to a more productive dialogue about policy solutions, including:

  • A shared message narrative underscoring the possibility of real progress on child welfare.
  • An ongoing communications consulting relationship, including strategic advice to change the public conversation on child welfare issues and on-the-spot message counsel.
  • Tactical advice on traditional media, social media, and other communications activities.

Building the Field
In efforts to provide thought leadership and to strengthen the field, SPARC develops and shares resources with
advocates to help inform their efforts to move the dial on child welfare reforms, including:

  • Publications on state and national policy topics and advocacy strategies.
  • Access to user-friendly resources by national and state organizations that can support child welfare advocacy efforts.
  • Publications designed to provide guidance to child welfare advocates.
  • Interviews with issue experts and thought leaders who have broad influence on child welfare and children and family policy.

All of SPARC’s news and information is shared on a regular basis through an active listserv.  To join the listserv, sign up here.

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