Center for the Study of Social Policy - 40 Years of Innovation
Ideas Into Action


The long-term sustainability of this work is dependent on our ability to insert the core ideas behind Strengthening Families into the policies that shape and inform programs that serve children and families across the country. This section provides two types of resources: connections to CSSP’s policy resources to help frame the Strengthening Families work within the context of a broader set of policy priorities for young children and their families; and specific resources that have been developed to help states link their Strengthening Families efforts to broader federal initiatives and priorities. While many of these resources were developed for a specific opportunity that was available at a specific point in time we have chosen to archive them here because they contain language and concepts that could be useful for future opportunities.

CSSP Policy Agenda

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) has identified policy priorities that have the greatest
potential to promote child and family well-being, advance equity, improve the performance of public
systems and strengthen communities. The goal of CSSP’s policy work is focused on ensuring that all:

  • children are healthy
  • children enter school ready to learn and are prepared to succeed
  • youth are prepared to succeed as adults
  • children grow up in safe, supportive and economically successful families
  • communities have the resources and opportunities families need to thrive

Our principles and public policy priorities and the work they guide are outlined in a policy agenda and additional strategies and resources can be found on CSSP's PolicyforResults website.

Strengthening Families Policy Resources

Many of these policy papers were developed to support states' efforts to connect their Strengthening Families work to specific federal policy opportunities. They are archived here to provide a continuing resource of language and examples for states seeking to connect their Strengthening Families work to policy in these arenas.

New Resources

Moving to High Quality Child Care for All: Addressing Inequities through CCDBG State Plans

Guidance for Strengthening Families States: Opportunities to Promote Equity and Build Protective Factors in the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative

Promoting Equity and Building Protective Factors: Opportunities in the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative

State Approaches to Integrating Strengthening Families into Quality Rating and Improvement Systems

 This issue brief demonstrates the advantages of using Strengthening Families, describes implementation tools, and highlights state approaches to integrating Strengthening Families into QRIS.

Strengthening Families and the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge

CSSP submitted comments to the federal Departments of Education and Health and Human Services regarding proposed priorities, requirements, definitions and selection criteria for the 2013 Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant competition for states. When the grant announcement was released, CSSP issued guidance to states about how their applications might build on ongoing Strengthening Families work. In 2014, CSSP summarized how 13 of the 20 states receiving RTT-ELC funding were using Strengthening Families as a component of their work.

Federal Preschool Development Grants

The $250 million federal Preschool Development Grants competition will support states in building, developing and expanding voluntary, high-quality preschool programs in high-need communities for children from low- and moderate-income families.  An important priority is engaging families more effectively so their children can succeed.  Existing Strengthening Families efforts can support states efforts

Strengthening Families and the Early Head Start - Child Care Partnerships

The Administration for Children and Families will award $500 million in competitive Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP) grants. Successful EHS-CCPs will require strong collaboration not just at the programmatic level but at community and systems levels. This document highlights the opportunities in the 2014 competitive Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP) grants for states. It describes how state leaders, whether they are considering applying for the EHS-CCP grants themselves or wish to support local grantees with successful implementation, can use Strengthening Families as a platform to achieve the goals of this grant opportunity.


Strengthening Families and Essentials for Childhood 

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a funding opportunity announcement for state implementation of their Essentials for Childhood framework, CSSP issued guidance to help state Strengthening Families leadership teams make connections with their public health counterparts. In 2014, CSSP and the CDC jointly released a document describing the relationship between the two frameworks and how they can be mutually supportive of one another when implemented together.

Connecting Strengthening Families and Home Visiting 

In more than 20 states across the country, Strengthening Families is being integrated into home visiting activities. This brief articulates why and how Strengthening Families can contribute to home visiting efforts and provides examples from some of the states actively working in this way.

Strengthening Families through Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Projects

Five states were awarded federal Title IV-E waivers in 2013 for demonstration projects in child welfare that will use Strengthening Families approaches to improve child safety, permanency and well-being. This issue brief outlines how the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework can inform IV-E waivers, summarizes the five state projects that have just begun and provides tips for other states and jurisdictions that wish to explore applying for IV-E waivers related to Strengthening Families.



Stay Informed

Policy for Results is a CSSP website that is designed to help communities and their leaders make thoughtful decisions by providing concrete, research-informed and results-focused policy solutions, including data, strategies and concrete funding options. The site offers examples of effective policies, programs and practices used across the country, as well as state-by-state data. It also has tools to address disparities.

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