Child Welfare

Growing and Sharing in Safety Organized Practice

The power of SOP has always been that it is grassroots–developed and enhanced by the people who use it in practice. One of the key goals of the SOP Toolkit is to create a collaborative space in which this grassroots movement can continue to grow as practices and circumstances continue to evolve.

2024 Sarah Duncan Champion for Children and Families Award Winner Announced

Presented each spring by the Northern Academy at UC Davis Human Services, the Sarah Duncan Champion for Children and Families Award honors one of Northern California’s outstanding social workers and seeks to highlight additional child welfare line social workers who reflect Duncan’s passion, skill and tireless commitment to working to improve outcomes for children and families. This is the third year the award has been presented. 

SOP Toolkit: Harm and Danger Statements; Safety Goals

Sharing New Tools and Celebrating Successful Safety Organized Practice

As we surge into 2024 with a host of new and exciting changes, we’re happy to announce the release of a new and improved SOP Quick Guide and to feature a look back at one of many 2023 SOP Champions we'll be celebrating throughout 2024.

SOP Toolkit: Collaborative Engagement for Prevention

Introducing new guidance on SOP & Family First Prevention Services integration, and reflecting upon the 2023 SOP Conference

With the 2023 California Safety Organized Practice Conference recently wrapped up, we couldn’t think of a more inspiring time to tackle the topic of SOP and Family First Prevention Services (FFPS) integration. The theme for this year’s SOP conference, collaborative engagement for prevention, said much about the monumental, infrastructure-wide shift underway toward prevention-focused services. The SOP Toolkit has some new tools to help with that.

California Social Workers Return to Davis for Reinvigorating Statewide SOP Conference

For the first time in more than five years, the California SOP Conference welcomed social workers from throughout the state back to the UC Davis Campus for two days of learning, sharing and inspiration. 

Hosted by the Northern Academy at UC Davis Human Services on the Davis campus June 21-22, the 2023 California Safety Organized Practice (SOP) conference proved a reinvigorating return to its traditional form after the 2021 conference was hosted as a virtual event due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

2023 Sarah Duncan Champion for Children and Families Award Winner Announced

Presented each spring by the Northern Academy at UC Davis Human Services, the Sarah Duncan Champion for Children and Families Award honors one of Northern California’s outstanding social workers and seeks to highlight additional child welfare line social workers who reflect Duncan’s passion, skill and tireless commitment to working to improve outcomes for children and families. This is the second year the award has been presented. 

New 2023 Sarah Duncan Award Nominees Announced

In our continuing celebration of social workers beyond National Social Work Month, we are proud to announce new nominees for the 2nd annual Sarah Duncan Champion for Children and Families Award

For those who submitted a nomination, thank you so much for taking the time to recognize one of your valued colleagues. If you didn’t get a chance to nominate this year: Don’t worry! We are already taking submissions for next year’s award.

This Week and Every Week: Thank You!

Child welfare work often feels like a thankless job. We can get so caught up in the day-to-day deluge of work that we don’t always pause to recognize good work when it is happening. There’s just so much work, and so many challenges, that taking the time to reflect on how much good is actually done, every single day, can seem impossible.

Meet the Award Winners

Nine individuals were honored at the Partnerships for Well-Being Institute in June 2022. These award winners were selected for their outstanding dedication to their work and their impact in improving outcomes for children and families involved with California’s systems of care. 

The SOP Toolkit: Safety Over Service Compliance

A foundational principle informing Safety Organized Practice is that services and safety are not the same thing. Service completion, on its own, does not promise child safety. Behavior change, on the other hand—demonstrated and sustained over time—is a far more promising sign of safety.

The SOP Toolkit: Hearing and Helping Our Kids

Integrating a child’s perspective is so important to the work of child welfare. Safety Organized Practice (SOP) provides a series of strategies, specifically the utilization of the Three Houses and Safety House information gathering tools, which allow children, in a developmentally appropriate way, to meaningfully contribute to both risk assessment and safety planning.

Looking for some quick tips and strategies to break down these important tools?

The SOP Toolkit: Back to the Basics

Safety Organized Practice has become so embedded in child welfare best practice that its acronym (SOP) can be tossed around loosely in the field. Many new social workers may not yet fully understand what SOP is, and many more may lack an understanding of its full history. Even seasoned SOP Champions may need a refresher from time to time.

Beating Exhaustion and Job Stress

Over the past two years, human services professionals have gone from experiencing pandemic stress, to pandemic fatigue, to finding a “new normal” as they regain their footing in daily work life. On May 24, 2022, the Northern Academy at UC Davis Human Services hosted a free, full-day virtual event devoted to discussing the challenges of work and life stresses and how to find workable solutions to mitigate this stress.

Using Data to Strengthen Connections and Communities: CalWORKs and Child Welfare Services

The field of Human Services is as wide and complex as its moniker might suggest. For larger agencies, an overlap in services is almost inevitable, but this doesn’t mean it should be shrugged off. For services that deal with vulnerable and/or traumatized children and families—such as CalWORKS and Child Welfare Services—each contact with children and families has the potential to cause additional trauma. The need to prevent inefficient, repetitive, and/or otherwise overlapping communications becomes paramount.

CDSS Shares DEI Efforts at CQI Statewide Conference

On March 23-24, 2022, UC Davis Human Services hosted the 5th annual CQI Statewide Conference for Child Welfare and Probation: A Pathway to Partnerships. On the opening day, keynote speakers Gregory Rose and Marcela Ruiz from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) highlighted how the pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is crucial to building lasting partnerships with children, families and stakeholders in their safety and stability.

Winner of the Inaugural Sarah Duncan Champion for Children and Families Award Announced

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in National Social Worker Month this March! While the month may be over, we’ll never stop looking for new ways to express our gratitude for those who have made it their life’s work to support vulnerable children and families. To that end, we are thrilled to kick off April by announcing the winner of the inaugural Sarah Duncan Champion for Children and Families Award!

Nominate a social worker for the Sarah Duncan Champion for Children and Families Award

In memory of one of California's outstanding social workers, Sarah Duncan, Human Services at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education is seeking your assistance in recognizing and honoring Northern California child welfare social workers who reflect passion, skill and tireless commitment to working to improve outcomes for children and families. This is an excellent opportunity to focus on and to celebrate the hard work that goes into this vital profession, and to cherish those who have made it their life's work to improve the lives of others.

CANS and CFT Technical Assistance Now Available

The Northern Academy now provides comprehensive CANS and CFT practice and implementation support to counties—for free! Supported by our contract with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), we are available to meet our county partners wherever they are at in their CANS and CFT implementation and practice journey.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Assembly Bill 340 (AB 340)

In 2019, California Governor Gavin Newson appointed pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris as California’s first-ever Surgeon General. A UC Davis School of Medicine graduate in 2001, Burke Harris is well known for her role in spreading awareness to all healthcare providers about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress.

Foster Care Rates During COVID-19: A Playbook for Supporting Child and Youth Permanency

UC Davis Human Services’ Resource Center for Family-Focused Practice team was proud to partner with the California Department of Social Services and many contributing partners on the development of this timely and relevant Playbook, Flexible Foster Care Rated During COVID-19: A Playbook for Supporting Child and Youth Permanency through a Wraparound-Informed Approach Operationalizing All County Letter 20-44.

Video from the Field: Child welfare workers document the struggles of their day-to-day amid pandemic

In this relevant (and relatable) news story, CBS News' Jericka Duncan shares the accounts of some child welfare workers who recorded video diaries of the lengths they must go to meet with children and families while observing health precautions during the COVID-19 health crisis.

Watch the video and consider sharing it with your colleagues—there maybe a variety of ways to use this video with your staff and community.

Celebrating 15 Years of Reaching Out

By Susan Brooks, Director of Human Services, UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education

As we celebrate Reaching Out's 15th year of production, we couldn't help but fall into a little reflection. 

Over these many but quickly moving years, each issue of Reaching Out has traditionally highlighted one central topic area. As we searched for one common thread across our many issues, we kept coming back to one that is still a large, important, and very tricky topic to this day: implementation.

What Does it Take for Effective Implementation to Get to Outcomes?

By Renée Boothroyd, Scientist and Senior Implementation Specialist, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Getting to outcomes is not as simple as selecting an effective practice model or strategy (“the WHAT”). The process of supporting use of any practice model or strategy (“the HOW”) is just as, if not more important, for creating supportive systems and improving outcomes. 

Implementing ICPM in an SOP World

Safety organized practice (SOP) implementation in California began in the northern region in 2008. Over the past decade, this partnership-based approach to engaging children and families and their networks of support has been adopted by many counties across the state, with counties currently at various stages of implementation.