Thriving Families, Safer Children (TFSC) is a first-of-its-kind effort of the U.S. Children’s Bureau, Casey Family Programs, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Prevent Child Abuse America. The partnership is working in 22 sites, including Kentucky, from coast to coast and a sovereign tribal nation. The Thriving Families effort seeks to demonstrate that intentional, coordinated investment in a full continuum of prevention and robust community-based networks of support will promote overall child and family well-being, equity and other positive outcomes for children and families.

In Kentucky, Thriving Families, Safer Children is a collaborative movement working to lift up the voices of community and local experts with lived expertise in child welfare and other systems to co-create a new way forward.

The Kentucky Department for Community Based Services submitted a Letter of Intent to be a Thriving Families, Safer Children site identifying the following goals as a focus of the work:

  • Development of a robust network of community-based prevention supports  
  • Creation of formalized structures to serve families “screened out” by DCBS
  • Clearly differentiating poverty and neglect  
  • Development of a statewide collaborative primary/secondary prevention plan 
  • Creation of a Parent Advisory Council   

Creation of a Parent Advisory Council for those with Lived Experience

A major goal of the TFSC work is to create a council of biological parents who have lived experience with the child welfare system and to lift up their voices, learn from their experience, and make informed recommendations for changes within the system. 

Interactions with the child welfare system as a parent can have lifelong impacts on the individual and the family. Major, life-altering decisions made within these systems can lead to many different outcomes that do not meet the expectations of parents. To improve the system, we need to better understand the perspective of parents.

The development of a Birth Parent Advisory Council is important as Kentucky continues to shift the child welfare system to focus on upstream, prevention-focused efforts. The council needs to be formed inclusively and intentionally. While DCBS is supporting the efforts, the council will be facilitated by Kentucky Youth Advocates to create opportunities for involving individuals with a broad range of experience. The first steps of developing a Council include:

  1. Identifying parents who have recent experience with the child welfare system included substantiated or unsubstantiated findings of dependency, abuse or neglect with services completed. 
  2. Gathering anonymous feedback about that experience — fill out the survey here.
  3. Talking to those who are interested in sharing their experience. If you are interested in being a part of the Council, please complete the form here.
  4. Co-creating a Council of individuals who are interested in sharing their experiences and interested in contributing to recommendations for improving the child welfare system, not only for themselves but for parents across Kentucky. 

If you have any questions about the Birth Parent Advisory Council, please contact Shannon Moody at