Families Rising Announces Receipt of $25 Million Federal Grant

Niki Seligman, BA. Director of Communications at CWEL.
Niki Seligman, BA
Director of Communications
December 8th, 2023

Also announces a new name for the Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership, which will lead the nation in training and support of the Child Welfare Workforce.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Dec. 11, 2023) – Families Rising was awarded $25 million by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Administration for Children and Families to lead the Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership (CWEL).

The Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership reflects an evolving focus and commitment to racial equity and social justice for diverse members of the workforce. The Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership is dedicated to ensuring equity is the driving force and embraces the charge to help create and support a diverse child welfare workforce.

“The Children’s Bureau is excited to support The Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership. System change requires new leaders to bring their voices at all organizational levels. Our responsibility to recruit a diverse, culturally, and linguistically competent workforce must consistently be a top priority.” said Associate Commissioner Schomburg. “Our investment will promote transformational leadership that creates a child well-being community which prioritizes keeping families together and honors culture as a protective factor.”

The Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership has a broad vision to enhance the child welfare workforce by focusing on equity, collaboration, and innovation. This all-encompassing approach involves several crucial initiatives such as:

Sponsoring tribal relational cultural keepers’ fellowships, which provide culturally responsive support and professional development training for tribal child welfare staff and leaders.

Providing leadership development cohorts for BIPOC staff and emerging leaders, along with executive coaching for current leaders to establish career pathways that enable individuals from the most affected communities to have a say in decision-making processes.

Supporting clinical supervision, coaching, ongoing support, and technical assistance, which are critical to equipping leaders with the necessary skills to support their staff.

Establishing university and jurisdictional partnerships to pave the way for well-prepared child welfare staff. These partnerships will focus on diversifying the child welfare workforce in all areas while enhancing recruitment, performance, and well-being.

Creating a repository of valuable tools, resources and lessons learned to support professionals and students in the workforce.

Launching a dynamic media campaign to inspire individuals to embark on a fulfilling career in child welfare.

“Diverse leaders can be key drivers of needed systems change in the child welfare workforce. We are dedicated to crafting a future where every professional in the workforce possesses the essential tools, coaching, training, and data for effective leadership,” said Ligia Cushman, CEO of Families Rising. “Through our collaborative efforts with partners, the Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership will actively shape a workforce committed to nurturing equity, compassion, and limitless opportunities for all.”

Families Rising will partner with the Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Association and Public Research and Evaluation Services to advance its mission.

About Families Rising

Founded in 1974, Families Rising (formerly the North American Council on Adoptable Children) emerged from a passionate group of adoptive parent leaders who aimed to create a supportive community. It became the leading North American organization committed to supporting child welfare professionals and parents. Dedicated to advocacy, education, support and leadership development, Families Rising has become the go-to resource for technical assistance, capacity building, and training across the United States and Canada. The annual Families Rising Adoption and Foster Care Conference brings thousands together once a year to learn from the top child welfare professionals in the nation to promote new and exciting child welfare workforce initiatives and strategies. For more information, please contact Ligia Cushman, MA.

Also announces a new name for the Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership, which will lead the nation in training and support of the Child Welfare Workforce.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Dec. 11, 2023) – Families Rising was awarded $25 million by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Administration for Children and Families to lead the Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership (CWEL).

The Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership reflects an evolving focus and commitment to racial equity and social justice for diverse members of the workforce. The Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership is dedicated to ensuring equity is the driving force and embraces the charge to help create and support a diverse child welfare workforce.

“The Children’s Bureau is excited to support The Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership. System change requires new leaders to bring their voices at all organizational levels. Our responsibility to recruit a diverse, culturally, and linguistically competent workforce must consistently be a top priority.” said Associate Commissioner Schomburg. “Our investment will promote transformational leadership that creates a child well-being community which prioritizes keeping families together and honors culture as a protective factor.”

The Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership has a broad vision to enhance the child welfare workforce by focusing on equity, collaboration, and innovation. This all-encompassing approach involves several crucial initiatives such as:

Sponsoring tribal relational cultural keepers’ fellowships, which provide culturally responsive support and professional development training for tribal child welfare staff and leaders.

Providing leadership development cohorts for BIPOC staff and emerging leaders, along with executive coaching for current leaders to establish career pathways that enable individuals from the most affected communities to have a say in decision-making processes.

Supporting clinical supervision, coaching, ongoing support, and technical assistance, which are critical to equipping leaders with the necessary skills to support their staff.

Establishing university and jurisdictional partnerships to pave the way for well-prepared child welfare staff. These partnerships will focus on diversifying the child welfare workforce in all areas while enhancing recruitment, performance, and well-being.

Creating a repository of valuable tools, resources and lessons learned to support professionals and students in the workforce.

Launching a dynamic media campaign to inspire individuals to embark on a fulfilling career in child welfare.

“Diverse leaders can be key drivers of needed systems change in the child welfare workforce. We are dedicated to crafting a future where every professional in the workforce possesses the essential tools, coaching, training, and data for effective leadership,” said Ligia Cushman, CEO of Families Rising. “Through our collaborative efforts with partners, the Center for Workforce Equity and Leadership will actively shape a workforce committed to nurturing equity, compassion, and limitless opportunities for all.”

Families Rising will partner with the Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Association and Public Research and Evaluation Services to advance its mission.

About Families Rising

Founded in 1974, Families Rising (formerly the North American Council on Adoptable Children) emerged from a passionate group of adoptive parent leaders who aimed to create a supportive community. It became the leading North American organization committed to supporting child welfare professionals and parents. Dedicated to advocacy, education, support and leadership development, Families Rising has become the go-to resource for technical assistance, capacity building, and training across the United States and Canada. The annual Families Rising Adoption and Foster Care Conference brings thousands together once a year to learn from the top child welfare professionals in the nation to promote new and exciting child welfare workforce initiatives and strategies. For more information, please contact Ligia Cushman, MA.