Improving cross-system collaboration for children, parents, and their families

We offer training and technical assistance to Tribes, states, counties, courts, and community-based agencies to improve cross-systems collaboration and improve outcomes for children, parents, and families affected by substance use and mental disorders, as well as child welfare involvement. Our Comprehensive Framework distills the complexity of collaboration into concrete areas of action and guides our training and technical assistance.  We created the Framework following decades of working with hundreds of collaborative partnerships.

Child welfare workers, courts, substance use treatment providers, health care providers, and community partners should work together to: 1) identify substance use and mental disorders, 2) provide timely access to assessment and engagement in treatment services to prevent child removal, and 3) support child permanency and family well-being.

No single agency can tackle this issue alone; it requires a coordinated response drawing on the talents and resources of many agencies. Building and sustaining collaborative relationships across these numerous systems remains challenging and requires a dedicated effort to develop connections, communications, and collaborative capacities.

 We support Tribes, states, counties, and communities in their efforts to implement practical steps and strategies that: 1) ensure structure for cross-systems collaborative teams and 2) implement effective communication protocols and collaborative practice innovations that improve services and family outcomes.


CFF has disseminated nearly 8,000 materials related to collaborative practice since 2016
CFF has responded to over 3,700 technical assistance requests about building and strengthening collaborative capacity since 2016


Through federally- and foundation-funded projects, Children and Family Futures and its small business subsidiary, Center for Children and Family Futures, produces publications, reports, Technical Assistance tools and web-based learning for the field. The following are featured resources from our work. For a full list of resources, or information related to a specific topic, please click the “Request Assistance” button below or at the top of the page.