Hear from parents and caregivers about why it’s important to keep parents in the loop when their child is in your care. 

Why is Family Engagement Important?

Caregivers can best help children in their care thrive by building a supportive network around the child’s whole family. Establishing a compassionate relationship with the family of the child is healing and transformative for everyone involved. The Compassionate Caregivers campaign provides resources and tools on how to engage with a child’s family in a meaningful way.

Who are Compassionate Caregivers?

Caregivers share who compassionate caregivers are.
What does it take to be a compassionate caregiver? Find out more in this video. 

A Note to Caregivers About This Campaign

Engaging a child’s family can be complicated, and caregivers can’t do this work alone. Everyone involved in the child’s case—from CPA case managers and CPS caseworkers to child welfare judges—plays a part.

Our campaign elevates the importance of everyone collaborating to create the best outcome for the child. The resources and tools provided in our campaign are designed to provide inspiration and encouragement to caregivers as they engage those involved in the case—but we know there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy to this work.

The people involved in the cases may be hesitant to engage, and you might recognize this hesitancy within yourself as well. Often, this hesitancy arises from long standing societal issues outside and within the child welfare system that cause fear and prejudice.

As a caregiver, you’re uniquely positioned to address these issues. Family engagement doesn’t need to be a big gesture—it’s often small actions in everyday life that make a difference. By trying out these strategies and tools, you’re taking a step toward creating a positive change.

We encourage you to share these resources with your peers and let us know how they work. We’re collecting feedback so we can keep improving as we work toward transforming the Texas child welfare system into one that shares power with children and families.

Click on the link below to learn more about how to be a compassionate caregiver. 

There are 3 key moments in most child welfare cases where compassionate caregiving matters most.

Click on the circles below to access tools on how to engage with families at any time during the case. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Family Engagement

Don’t take it personally. Being involved in the child welfare system is an extremely traumatic and stressful time for any family. Parents can be experiencing a lot of scrutiny and judgment about who they are and how they parent. Parents might be feeling anger, worry, and resentment about the situation before you become involved in the case.

Even if you come from a supportive, non-judgemental stance, parents might associate you with the scrutiny and judgment they are experiencing. Like any relationship, this can change over time. There are small ways to let parents know you are on their side while respecting their needs for space and privacy. Check out our resources on ways you can introduce yourself to parents.

Child welfare professionals are part of a system that is often described as fear-based, discriminatory, and retaliatory. The system treats professionals as they do families. Professionals are often working with few resources and a lack of support. Caseworkers and case managers might be hesitant helping you connect with the parents for personal, cultural, or structural reasons. However, there is no DFPS policy, law, or regulation that prevents caregivers and parents from connecting with each other.

As a caregiver, you hold a unique position to lead and facilitate this connection, which is typically in the best interest of the child. You are the most direct link to the parent’s child(ren). There may be some circumstances where court orders require some limitations to the parent-child interaction. Have a direct discussion with your caseworker and, within the requirements of the court orders, determine what type and frequency of contact you are comfortable with. Then have an open and honest conversation with the birth family about their preferences. The key is to speak to everyone involved and keep everyone looped into what the circumstances are. Check our resources on how to engage with caseworkers and case managers about family engagement.

Compassionate Caregivers has been developed by an advisory group of parents and caregivers in Texas. Interested in collaborating with us? Email Katelynmckerlie@austin.utexas.edu

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