Advocacy

The Collaborative Council’s advocacy agenda focuses on sustaining and growing resources to support the individuals and families served by the Collaboratives and joining with other organizations to assure that the “safety net” for our most vulnerable residents is maintained.
 The Collaborative Council also works to bring systemic change to our public agency partners,advancing an integrated and non-categorical service delivery model that is family centered and strengths and community based.

Our Issues:

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Our Vision

A comprehensive child welfare system, focusing on the five Protective Factors, requires a strong public/private partnership that includes a comprehensive range of community based supports that are available to families prior to crisis.

The Challenge

After 21 years, the District’s Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) remains under the oversight of the Federal Courts (LaShawn v. Gray) for continued non-compliance with an Revised Implementation Plan that outlines steps to assure that the rights of parents and children are met. While CFSA has made significant strides toward reform, much remains to be done.

Recent Developments

Differential Response: After years of advocacy by the Collaborative Council, other advocates and the DC City Council, CFSA is in the process of implement a Differential Response program, the agency finally took steps to do so. This model is designed to divert families referred to CFSA from the formal investigative track to one that engages families and develops a plan to address their needs.

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The Challenge

Access to high-quality mental health services has improved significantly over the past few years and the children’s mental health system has been aggressively implementing a range of evidence based practice models. However, there are still major gaps in the system and too many individuals, especially children, who are facing mental health issues remain under served. As a member of the Behavioral Health Association and by participation in a number of the Department of Mental Health planning activities, the Collaborative Council has supported efforts to expand capacity and increase the array of children’s mental health services, including the Care Coordination and Diversion Program.

Recent Developments

In October 2012, DMH was awarded a $4 million grant for the SAMHSA to develop a comprehensive Systems of Care (CSC) for children. The Collaborative Council participated in the development of the application that lead to this award and will be actively involved in assuring its full implementation.

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The District’s low- and moderate-income families continue to spend a disproportionate share of their income on housing. Joining with other members of the Affordable Housing Alliance, the Collaborative Council fights for expansion of the Housing Production Trust Fund, Rental Assistance program and the Housing Purchasing Assistance program.

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With more than 30% of the District’s residents functionally illiterate, the challenges relating to prior criminal activity and outstanding child support make finding and maintaining a job for all too many residents an overwhelming challenge. The resulting poverty is a leading factor in child abuse and neglect. The Collaborative Council, as a member of the DC Jobs Coalition, brings voice to those wishing, but who are unable, to find employment through support of expanded literacy programs, meaningful job- training programs and subsidized employment.

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More than one in three District residents live in poverty. The Collaborative Council, in partnership with other organizations, has advocated for continued support for the TANF program and, in the absence of job-training and subsidized-employment programs, against the establishment of new sanctions for those who are not successful in moving into the workforce.

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Following up on the Collaborative Council’s Gang, Crew and Youth Violence in the District of Columbia: A Blueprint for Action, published in 2009, the Collaborative Council testified on numerous occasions before committees of the City Council on issues relating to youth violence, confidentiality and the District’s Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services.

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