Better Together is an intensive two-day workshop facilitated by one birth parent and one staff/ally. Better Together aims to foster equal and mutually respectful partnerships between birth parents, foster parents, other caregivers, child welfare agency staff, and community allies.
Better Together Philosophy
It is our strong belief that birth fathers and mothers have knowledge and expertise found nowhere else, and that they must be meaningfully involved if child welfare services are to succeed in keeping children in safe, loving and permanent homes.
Better Together Key Components
Better Together is a curriculum that creates experiential learning and “safe spaces” for caregivers, agency staff and allies to authentically engage with each other. We offer in person Better Together workshops and Better Together Virtual Round Tables where people with lived experience are at the table included as training partners and co-leads creating the “better together experience” for the participants.
Participants engage in dynamic and participatory activities to recognize and unpack barriers to building trust and relationship in child welfare. Example of modules include “power differential”, “race and culture”, fatherhood, “what partnership looks like” and the “eye opening conversation”. Participants also work together to identify the behaviors that promote trusting relationships and to co-create partnership tools and strategies.
When is Better Together offered?
Better Together workshops and round tables are offered monthly. Better Together has been integrate into the DCYF Core Academy for Child Protective Service Workers
We also offer Better Together to foster parents and residential providers to help them learn how to build trusting relationship with birth parents.
Better Together Impact
Better Together has profoundly impacted the culture and climate of the Division. Better Together supports workforce development by ensuring that DCYF newly hired staff have the opportunity to meet birth parents and other caregivers and hear directly from them about their experiences with the Division, and learn effective family engagement skills.
DCYF staff have consistently described Better Together as a true eye opener. It helps staff build awareness of the challenges families face and get grounded, build empathy for caregivers, better understand what actually helps families, and learn valuable family engagement skills.
Parents and other caregivers describe Better Together as a powerful healing experience that creates the foundation for a journey toward finding their voices, re-claiming their humanity/identity, connecting with others, letting go of stigma, experiencing self-empowerment, and becoming the parents they want to be for their children. Most parent leaders in our pool start their leadership journey by participating at a Better Together Workshop or a Strategic Sharing Workshop, and then joining a Better Together Team.
Those interested in attending a Better Together Workshop or Round Table can contact program leads: