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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Child Welfare League of America, Inc., aka CWLA

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Family Services, Human Services, Residential Care & Adult Day Programs

Mission: CWLA is a powerful coalition of hundreds of private and public agencies serving vulnerable children and families since 1920. Our expertise, leadership and innovation on policies, programs, and practices help improve the lives of millions of children in all 50 states. Our impact is felt worldwide. CWLA leads and engages its network of public and private agencies and partners to advance policies, best practices and collaborative strategies that result in better outcomes for vulnerable children, youth and families. Our vision is that every child will grow up in a safe, loving, and stable family.

Results: We recently led more than 150 agency administrators, directors, social workers and other leaders to Capitol Hill to prioritize vulnerable children and families. It’s the year's largest national advocacy event for child welfare, human service, and behavioral health professionals. We focused our efforts on critical issues, like: improving services and supports for older youth who are transitioning out of foster care; strengthening the child welfare workforce; and responding to abuse and related trauma in ways that allow children to safely remain with their parents or extended family when possible, and to recover from the effects of trauma. This spring we are publishing our latest Models of Practice curriculum, titled, Collaborating with Kinship Caregivers: A Research to Practice Evidence-Based Curriculum for Child Welfare Workers and Their Supervisors. This 12-hour program teaches public and private agency-based child welfare staff and community advocates how to work with grandparents and other relatives who are raising their younger family members because of parental abuse and neglect. Nationally, there are more children living in "kinship care" than with foster parents, and this model of practice teaches how to work with kin on a range of critical concerns, such as legal and financial issues, child behavior, family relationships, health and mental health, and navigating or accessing community supports.

Programs: Education and national advocacy cwla is the nation's leading voice for millions of children who are abused, neglected or vulnerable. Cwla advocates for public policies that benefit children at the federal, state and local levels. Cwla works with its members, partner organizations and other advocates and national organizations with the goal of improving the quality and effectiveness of services so that children, youth, families and communities can flourish. Cwla brings its knowledge and expertise directly to agencies and communities through its programs, publications, research, conferences, and professional development. Cwla hosts a bi-annual national conference along with national program and practice conferences, webinars and events that bring together hundreds of professionals seeking the latest research and best practice information to help them achieve better outcomes for children, youth, and families. Cwla provides professional development materials/training/ or topic specific institutes for professionals from nearly 50 states, the district of columbia, and in more than 20 countries. Cwla has developed and disseminated the pride model of practice for the development and support of foster and adoptive parents as partners in child protection in 30 states and 22 countries. Cwla supports the development of standards of excellence in child welfare services that provide practice guidance for practitioners who care for, treat and educate vulnerable children and families.

consultationcwla brings its knowledge and expertise directly to agencies and communities through its programs, publications, research, and conferences. These services include agency assessments, policy review and analysis, strategic planning, critical incident reviews and program consultation to improve individual programs, organizations, and large systems, public and private; assist public child welfare agencies and state legislatures in reviewing and redesigning systems based on research, best practice standards and assessment of local needs. In 2014, cwla provided brief technical assistance and indepth consultation to legislators, community leaders, and public and private child welfare agencies in more than a dozen jurisdictions.

researchcwla collects, analyzes, reports and establishes standards on data, trends and best practices in the field of child welfare, including prevention, early intervention, reunification, permanency and transition to independent living; cwla also disseminates information to members and the general public through publications, the internet and conferences to enhance the system of care for children, youth and families.

Community Stories

31 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 4

CWLA is a national voice for vulnerable children and families. CWLA helps to educate the public and our leaders about what it takes to strengthen children and their families. This is a difficult time for children and families (especially the most vulnerable ones served by members of CWLA). We need CWLA now more than ever.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the Board of CWLA because I had been a foster parent for 12 years and wanted to represent that demographic on the Board. What I discovered was an organization, staff and Board passionate about improving the lives of children and families, particularly those in the most need. It was a revelation to see such commitment, as well as strong advocacy and programs on such a small budget. Even as CWLA had to lay off staff, the remaining staffers redoubled their efforts to keep serving the needs of children. I am so honored to be on the Board with a stellar group of people who are devoting their lives to child welfare. I can unequivocally state that children in the US are much better off because CWLA exists.