CWLA is pleased to announce that we are accepting proposals for our 2020 Conference: 100th Anniversary Year, Sharing Ideas that Strengthen Families and Engage Communities to Promote Child Well-Being, to be held from March 25–29, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. As we celebrate 100 years of leadership in creating and advancing standards of practice, advocacy, and information sharing to enhance the well-being of children and families, we look forward to a future that ensures children, youth, and families have what they need to flourish.

Across the world, there is a growing understanding of the importance of expanding family strengthening and support and moving away from an investigation-based child protective system and institutional care. In the United States, there are a number of special efforts to strengthen families, such as the federal Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First), which are designed to facilitate an increased use of programs and services that support families in order to prevent the unnecessary separation of children from their parents and families. But this is not unique to the United States. There are numerous examples of innovations in family supports in other countries such as Australia, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Taiwan, and Tanzania.

CWLA’s 2020 conference will bring together policy, research, and practice professionals from child- and family-serving systems in the United States and other countries, as well as youth, caregivers, and community partners, to share and advance more effective family supports and systems of care for children and families in the 21st century. We are honored to have the support of the CWLA Conference Planning Committee to develop the conference program, along with additional input from our Global Planning Committee, which includes representatives from 21 countries.

Our conference is designed to facilitate an innovations exchange across systems, sectors, and countries in order to significantly expand the availability of:

(1) Supports that are family-friendly, culturally responsive, informed by lived experiences, and dedicated to keeping children in their families and communities.

(2) Intergenerational family supports to protect children who are vulnerable, build new protective factors that enhance their resilience, and support the resilience of their families.
(3) Indigenous innovations that address not just children, youth, and families who are the most vulnerable, but the services and policies in place that may do harm to those they are trying to protect and help.

We look forward to receiving proposals that share the best ideas and proven strategies from around the world that focus on strengthening families and engaging communities to promote child well-being. We want proposals that describe endeavors at program and systems levels, including how they are planned and developed. We also encourage sharing strategies for policy and organizational change as well as funding.  Outcomes are valued, especially the research and evaluation designs.

CWLA’s National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare calls for a multi-system, community-based approach to protecting children and supporting families. This can be a helpful reference as U.S. proposals are being developed, and may have relevance for others.