||CWOP – Community Connections: Program Evaluation Final Report
This evaluation study by the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections was conducted in an effort to learn more about the innovative Child Safety Conference work implemented by the Child Welfare Organizing Project (CWOP) in partnership with the Center for Family Representation (CFR) in East Harlem, New York City, and identify the role and impact of CWOP community representatives on parents, families, and Child Safety Conference outcomes.CWOP community representatives attend Child Safety Conferences with parents to provide them with emotional support and resources, as well as information about their rights and responsibilities within the child welfare system. The community representatives, who are familiar with the community and the resources available, help parents as they take steps to either ensure that their children remain safely home or become reunified with them after a removal.
The study investigated perceptions of multiple stakeholders (ie parents, community representatives, and child protective services staff) about this model; examined parents’ satisfaction levels with CWOP representatives’ services; depicted barriers to parental engagement as well as factors promoting engagement; and discussed dynamics in collaboration between community representatives and child protection services.
Findings include a 15.5% difference in remand rates between Community District 11 and the comparison site, which arguably could be an indication of a decision-making that favored family-centered and family-preservation approach. There was also very positive qualitative feedback from both CPS personnel and parents, and the recommendation that this model be replicated in other Community Districts.