The child welfare system in Philadelphia underwent a citywide, multi-year transition to improve the quality of child welfare services. Foster, kinship, and pre-adoptive parents—also known as resource parents—are adapting to a new set of expectations while simultaneously coming to terms with less, or perhaps a different kind of, support from their caseworkers. At a time when the city is facing a shortage of homes for the children who need placement, it is crucial to understand how to retain existing qualified parents.
Through her Emerging Leader Fellowship, Kira Silk worked with Wordsworth to conduct survey research to better understand the challenges resource parents face and what types of supports can best help them succeed in their roles. Based on these findings, Kira worked with a coalition of stakeholders to design and launch the Philadelphia Resource Parent Association to give these parents opportunities to network with, learn from, and support each other, as well as collectively advocate for broader systems change.