A CUA, or Community Umbrella Agency, is part of a new DHS initiative called “Improving Outcomes for Children: A Community Partnership Approach to Child Welfare” (IOC), created to strengthen child welfare services in Philadelphia. The IOC initiative aims to improve the safety, permanency, and well-being of the children and families served by DHS. IOC is based on the idea that positive outcomes are reached through child welfare services that are family-centered, community-based, culturally competent, integrated, timely, and accountable for results.
Under the IOC initiative, CUAs provide all of the case-management services for children and families involved in the child-welfare system within the agency’s designated region. This includes services in the home, as well as out-of-home placement services. The CUA acts as a link between families and other services and resources within the community in order to connect families to what they need to be strong entities.
The goal of the IOC initiative and the CUA is to bring child welfare services closer to the families and communities served. Therefore, CUAs are based in the particular communities they serve, as Wordsworth CUA is located in your community. The CUAs will work to strengthen neighborhoods and communities to prevent families’ involvement with DHS and to shorten the length of time services are needed when DHS involvement is necessary. CUAs will also work to achieve the following goals:
- More children and youth maintained safely at home.
- Fewer children and youth placed in institutional settings.
- Lower initial placement rates.
- Fewer changes in placement.
- Shorter length of placement.
- Lower rates of abuse while in placement.
- Reduction of returns to placement.
- Increased kinship placement.
- Increased placement of siblings together and better connection when they are not.
- Increased reunification and other permanency rates.
By creating strong community partnerships and stronger neighborhoods, community members will be better prepared to support their families, and thereby reduce the number of children brought into care, shorten the time they spend in care, and increase the number of children who remain in their homes without re-entry to foster care once reunification is achieved.