ABCs of the Common Core for Social Workers

The Road Map to Reform Toolkit

The Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) seeks to realize California’s longstanding goal of ensuring that all children live as members of committed, nurturing, and permanent families. Assembly Bill (AB) 403 (Chapter 773, Statutes of 2015) provides the statutory and policy framework to ensure services and supports provided to the child or youth and his or her family are tailored toward the ultimate goal of returning the child home whenever possible or to a permanent family through adoption or guardianship.

The Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) draws together a series of existing and new reforms (see below) to our child welfare services program. CCR was designed from an understanding that children who must live apart from their biological parents do best when they are cared for in committed, nurturing family homes. Reliance on group care should be limited to short-term, therapeutic interventions that are just one part of a continuum of care available for children, youth, and young adults.

Informational webinars:

  • For a general overview of CCR, please view this webinar presentation from Sara Rogers, Cheryl Treadwell, and Jean Chen of CDSS.  The PowerPoint is also available for download: CCR Overview PowerPoint.
  • A newer version of the PowerPoint has been created from the Bay Area Academy and is available for download: CCR Overview PowerPoint 2.0
  • For a youth-focused overview of CCR, please view this webinar presentation from Alyssum Maguire, Alexis Barries, and Ali Arnold from the Youth Engagement Project. The PowerPoint is also available for download: CCR Youth Presentation PowerPoint.


CCR Toolkit

The “Road Map to Reform” Toolkit contains the following:

Title      Content
ABC's of CCR    Overview, principles, reforms
Rules of the Road: The Map    ACIN, ACLs, legislation, fact sheets
Road Work Ahead: Spreading the Word  Outreach, presentations, training
Putting the Plan to Work   Timelines
Measuring Progress  Data, accountability, oversight


Paving the Road: Fundamental Principles of CCR

  • All children deserve to live with a committed, nurturing, and permanent family that prepares youth for a successful transition into adulthood.
  • The child, youth, and family’s experience and voice are important in assessment, placement, and service planning. A process known as a “child and family team,” which includes the child, youth, and family, and their formal and informal support network, will be the foundation for ensuring these perspectives are incorporated throughout the duration of the case.
  • Children should not have to change placements to get the services and supports they need. Research shows that being placed in foster care is a traumatic experience and in order for home-based placements to be successful, services including behavioral and mental health should be available in a home setting.
  • Agencies serving children and youth, including child welfare, probation, mental health, education, and other community service providers, need to collaborate effectively to surround the child and family with needed services, resources, and supports, rather than requiring the child, the youth, and caregivers to navigate multiple service providers.
  • The goal for all children in foster care is normalcy in development while establishing permanent life-long family relationships. Therefore, children should not remain in a group living environment for long periods of time.

Merging Existing and New Reforms with CCR

CCR builds on existing and new reforms that are working to improve the lives of children in foster care.

Approved Relative Caregivers Program (ARC)

Currently 45 participating counties support relative caregivers with a payment equal to the basic foster care rate.

Resource Family Approval (RFA) Program

In 2017, a 12-county pilot that provides upfront training and assessment of families seeking to parent children in foster care will expand statewide.

Child and Family Teaming

An effective approach to coordinated care and case planning for all children and youth in the child welfare system.

Pathways to Mental Health

Originating from the Katie A. lawsuit settlement, Pathways is intended to improve the coordination between child welfare and mental health systems so that children in foster care receive timely and effective individualized mental health services. 

Quality Parenting Initiative

The Quality Parenting Initiative will create new strategies and practices within child welfare for the recruitment and retention of quality caregivers and support biological parents with reunification efforts.

Residentially Based Services Reform (RBS)

Currently, a four-county demonstration project begun in 2008 that tested a short-term residential program model with ongoing community-based services and support, and which serves as the foundation for STRTP (Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program).