Date of Award

Summer 7-26-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Keith Larick

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia White

Third Advisor

Dr. Carlos Guzman

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Laurie Love


Purpose. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was twofold, (1) to describe the family experiences of those who had a CFT and those who did not, and (2) to identify and describe the impact of child and family teams (CFTs) on reentry into foster care.

Methodology. The study used a mixed-methods approach collecting both quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data included archival data and an electronic survey. Qualitative data included in-depth interviews and narrative comments from the survey.

Findings. A careful analysis of the data resulted in nine major findings and three dominant themes. The dominant themes of the study showed system functioning impacted a child’s ability to live safely in a permanent home, using child and family teams helped families build safety nets and have a better experience with the child welfare system, and finally, that comprehensive service integration (in areas such as behavioral and medical health, housing, child care and other vital community services) was key to improving family functioning.

Conclusions. As a result of the study the following conclusions were formed: CFTs have the potential to improve outcomes for thousands of children each year. Community partners and natural supports are essential to CFT success. A positive relationship with the social worker builds trust with the family and results in stronger family engagement. Stronger agency engagement improves the potential for positive outcomes, and finally, an organization’s capacity for caring is the foundation for child and family team success.

Recommendations. Based upon the findings of this study, it is recommended the CFT concept be embedded into the social work profession through existing partnerships with colleges and universities, professional social work organizations, leadership development opportunities, and formal mentorship programs. It is also recommended child welfare agencies continue to develop more family-friendly ways to identify underlying needs and improve family functioning. Lastly, it is recommended team membership include more natural supports such as friends and relatives and those who have experience with the child welfare system such as parent partners and former foster youth.