Elected officials and public policy makers play a critical role in the public child welfare system.
They hold power over the agency and create policies that affect children and families for years.
While agencies work with the best of intentions to reduce the number of children in foster care and
improve their outcomes while in care, the effects of out-dated public policies, under-funded
systems and over-worked employees can undermine best efforts. Effective work cannot be done without
the support of political leadership.
Depending on how a particular system is administered, policies might be enacted at either a local,
state or federal level. It is important to keep lines of communication open between the agency and
elected officials and lawmakers at all levels. These conversations, when conducted with clear
intentions and clear language, are likely to lead to good relationships and effective policies for
children and youth in foster care. Public child welfare agencies can and should work alongside
policymakers to guide policies through practice by communicating their needs effectively.
Communications can assist with educating and enhancing communications with elected officials and