Transforming Child Welfare Practice in Maryland through the Integrated Child Welfare Practice Model


Chapin Hall is working with the state of Maryland to transform the quality of child welfare and adult services throughout the state. Improving critical safety, permanency and well-being outcomes for children, families and vulnerable adults are the goals of this partnership. A critical element of this collaboration is implementing the Department of Human Services’ Social Service Agency’s “Integrated Practice Model.”

The Integrated Practice Model builds on the agency’s foundational family-centered practice, older youth, and adult services practice frameworks to include an explicit understanding of trauma’s impact on families and the workforce. All assessments are aligned with the practice model to ensure evidence informs decision-making across the continuum of care.

The practice model establishes the Social Service Agency’s philosophy, approach and strategies for social work practice statewide. It was developed in partnership local social service department staff, provider representatives, advocates, legal partners, and youth and family stakeholders. Moreover, the practice model addresses how Social Service Agency staff work with one another across different levels of the agency, as well as with legal and community partners.

The core components of the Maryland Integrated Practice Model include:

  • Values: Collaboration, Advocacy, Respect and Empowerment (CARE)
  • Practice Principles: Family-Centered, Outcomes-Driven, Individualized and Strengths-Based, Trained and Professional Workforce, Community-Focused, Trauma-Responsive, and Culturally and Linguistically Responsive
  • Core Practices: Engage, Team, Assess, Plan, Intervene, and Monitor and Adapt

Today, Maryland and Chapin Hall are working together to ensure the practice model is meaningfully incorporated into all aspects of agency infrastructure and processes, including hiring practices, policy, training curricula, coaching methodologies, and continuous quality improvement practices. The agency is also modernizing its information technology system to support effective implementation of the practice model.

This work at Chapin Hall is led by Policy Fellows Larry Small, Krista Thomas, and Jennifer O’Brien. This team brings a rich mix of federal, state and local experience in policy and practice, and a commitment to helping agencies achieve the best results for the families they serve. For more information about Chapin Hall’s work on developing and implementing Maryland’s Integrated Practice Model, reach out to Larry Small, Krista Thomas, or Jennifer O’Brien.