CAPLP's Whole Family Approach to eliminating poverty


CAPLP’s journey to establishing a Whole Family Approach (WFA) service model began in 2016 with an assessment of the agency and led to a complete overhaul of culture and values. CAPLP’s core values were developed by staff and board to strengthen the culture and to permanently break down silos. The two-year process was a success, and the core values are used daily across the agency. CAPLP partners across divisions with the ultimate focus of serving families in the best, most efficient way. The agency transformed into a very cohesive organization with collaborative case management involving all divisions. CAPLP believes best practice starts with a healthy culture.

The WFA builds family well-being by intentionally and simultaneously working with children and the adults in their lives together. As children, caregivers, and families grow and change across their lifespan, whole family aligns opportunities to help families achieve their version of the American dream. Providing integrated, high-quality, intentional support to caregivers and children has the potential to improve both parent’s and child’s social and economic well-being producing a legacy of family well-being that passes from one generation to the next. In this approach, the intensity and duration for both caregiver and child is the key to ending the cycle of poverty.

In September 2020, CAPLP joined the National Whole Family Cohort to learn from whole family peers and experts. The cohort meets monthly and includes twelve agencies from around the nation. The cohort helped CAPLP develop a theory of change and a plan design model for incorporating the WFA into the agency.

CAPLP used CSBG funding to hire a Whole Family Manager to lead the approach and a Whole Family Navigator, who uses a “No Wrong Door” assessment tool to determine if a family is right for this intensive approach. Although Whole Family is an approach, at the onset of 2022, CAPLP unveiled a Whole Family Pilot Program. A grant from United Way Cass-Clay allowed CAPLP to hire two WFA Coaches and begin onboarding families into the program.

CAPLP’s WFA Pilot Program is serving nine families and a total of 21 people, with ten families on the waitlist. Enrolled families have children in Head Start, CAPLP Career Connect program, and the CAPLP Housing Division. Most recently CAPLP developed a Learning & Development Director position that is responsible to provide evidence-based research and best practice training to all staff to have a common understanding of the effects of poverty. Having a Learning & Development Director has allowed us to consistently onboard new staff and train specifically in Intercultural Development Inventory, Strength’s Finder, and Bridges out of Poverty to ensure that we have created a baseline of understanding agency-wide. CAPLP has committed to a Family Centered Coaching framework working with the Prosperity Agenda on a ten-week learning journey. The Family Centered Coaching model will be used to enhance the Whole Family Approach throughout all Divisions of the agency.

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