Strengthening children and families through prevention and intervention strategies:

A court- and community-based approach

Upstream is a court and community-based approach to identify solutions to strengthen families through prevention and intervention strategies. To ensure healthy and safe communities, we must engage communities, strengthen community-based resources, address the systemic barriers that keep families from thriving and ensure effective collaboration between the community, the child welfare system and the court. Courts are in an ideal position to lead efforts to support the vision of a community-based approach to strengthening families that is proactive, holistic, and focuses on keeping children safely with their families and out of foster care.

Upstream serves as a conceptual framework for communities to:

  • Map their specific community resources, gaps, and collaborations;
  • Develop a comprehensive landscape of how children and families enter and move through the child welfare system and the courts;
  • Identify opportunities to divert families to appropriate resources both before and after formal court involvement and at each Point of Prevention and Intervention; and
  • Create a strategic action plan informed by the community map.

National Upstream Consortium

The National Upstream Consortium is made up of multidisciplinary state teams with court leadership. Each state will identify facilitators who will be trained to conduct local child welfare community mappings, develop prevention and intervention strategies, and promote peer-to-peer learning, based on Upstream. For more information on why you should join the National Upstream Consortium please read the flyer.

To sign up and for more information, please contact Nora Sydow. If your state signs up for the National Upstream Consortium in August 2021 we hope to accommodate your state in one of the 2021 Train-the-Trainer Virtual Mapping Workshops, either during the week of October 18-22 or the week of December 6-10. A schedule of 2022 workshops will be announced in early fall.