Collage of photographs with smiling teens, a toddler in a field blowing on a dandelion, a multi-generation family, a field of sunflowers, an adult and child flying a kite in silhouette, and the Kansas Strong for Children and Families logo

Kansas Strong for Children and Families

Kansas Strong is a unique collaboration that centers families and activates our state’s key strengths by bringing together agency, court, parent and youth leadership to create meaningful and lasting change in our child welfare system.

Project Description

Kansas Strong is a public-private-university collaborative that includes the Kansas Department for Children and Families; Kansas Family Advisory Network, Parent Partners, Kansas Youth Advisory Council, Kansas Court Improvement Program, Office of Judicial Administration, Kansas Supreme Court Task Force on Permanency Planning, Children’s Alliance, the state’s network of private providers of family preservation and foster care - Cornerstones of Care, DCCCA, KVC Kansas, Saint Francis Ministries, and TFI; and, the University of Kansas.


Kansas Strong is a 5-year cooperative agreement between KU School of Social Welfare and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau. Kansas is one of five grantees nationally aimed at strengthening child welfare systems to improve outcomes for children and families.

Project Information

  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Becci Akin

  • Co-Investigator/Evaluation Lead: Dr. Kaela Byers

  • Project Manager: Christina Mott

  • Dates: October 2018-September 2023

  • Funder: Children’s Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, grant number 90-CO-1139


Kansas Strong Numbers


Strategies supporting the full continuum of child welfare services
Steering Committee members representing 15 agencies & interest groups
Community partners and collaborators across Kansas

Our Strategies

Kansas Strong strategies aim to improve outcomes for children and families by supporting the full continuum of child welfare services and changing practices in both court/legal and agency settings, and to address systemic barriers through a cross-system board of key leaders and stakeholders.

Interagency Advisory Board

A Kansas cross-system multi-agency collaboration focused on aligning systems and strengthening the service array.
hands of varying sizes and skin tones on top of each other to symbolize teamwork

Parent/Youth Facilitation

A facilitation process for older youth (14+) and their parents that aims to reduce the number of out-of-home placements by engaging parents and youth in a meaningful problem-solving process, and connecting them with community services and supports
A smiling teenager with two smiling adults on either side

Adoption Tracking Tool

A case reporting tool designed to reduce time to adoption by establishing clear timelines and benchmarks, as well as assisting with communication of roles, responsibilities, and process between agency workers and the court/legal system.
Two adults and two children sitting a table, smiling at each other


A coaching program focused on developing and strengthening supervisory capacity and skills to promote quality frontline practice and improve outcomes.
Classroom with adult learners seated at desks. One smiling learner is in focus and the rest are blurred

Change the World

A workgroup committed to taking firm action, both in identifying and following through with steps to correct policies, procedures, and perspectives that perpetuate racial inequities in the child welfare system.
Five children of diverse races smiling

Youth Voices from Foster Care

An arts-based, youth-led creative storytelling project that aims to involve youth who have experienced foster care in the process of improving child welfare practice and policy.
Seven diverse youth with their arms around each other and smiling for the camera

Kansas Strong Team

Photo of Dr. Becci Akin
Becci Akin
Erin Gulledge
Erin Gulledge
Assistant Researcher Senior
Vickie McArthur
Vickie McArthur
Program Manager
Brennan Miller
Brennan Miller
Research Associate
Pegah Naemi Jimenez
Pegah Naemi Jimenez
Associate Researcher Senior
Photo of Kelechi Wright
Kelechi C. Wright
MEd, LCPC, LPC, Doctoral Graduate