Cabell Wayne “CabWay” Collaborative meets the 2nd Friday of the month from 10 – 11:30 am, at Cabell Co. DHHR

Community Collaboratives: Purpose & Function


The establishment of Community Collaboratives is an initiative of the Department of Health and Human Resources to enhance community response to the needs of children who are at risk of out-of-home placement.



The purpose of a Community Collaborative is to share resources and identify service gaps in order to develop needed services with providers, service agencies and the community to ensure a timely, consistent and seamless response to the needs of children and families. Goals that the Department of Health and Human Resources have for the development of Collaboratives are:

Goals for Community Collaborative:

  1. Keep children out of congregate care and provide services to the family so that the child can be maintained safely in their home and community.
    1. Increasing the sense of “community ownership” for children at risk of out-of-home placement.
    2. Strengthening natural supports for families in order for children to safely remain in their home communities.
  2. Return children from out of state placements by identifying services or resources in West Virginia and their communities that can meet their needs.
    1. Increasingly serve the children placed in out-of-home care closer to their families and home communities while shortening their length of stay.
    2. Develop and improve safety responses such that the rate of children coming into out-of-home care is reduced and the length of stay in “emergency” care is reduced.
  3. Develop, link and implement services to assist youth transitioning into adulthood and prepare them for independent living.
    1. Ensure resources are available to assist in teaching the necessary skills needed by every young person to mature and become an independent adult.
    2. Strengthen services to assist all students in identifying and address their academic, career and personal/social needs and become better prepared to enter the work force or training/college program with needed transitioning services.



Partners may be any provider willing to participate in collaborative partnerships, and has something to offer the “whole”. This includes all child serving providers within the Department of Health and Human Resources, including the Bureau for Children and Families, mental health providers, child welfare agencies, in-home providers and placement providers. Placement provider can include, but are not limited to residential facilities, group home placements, foster care providers, hospitals with in-patient psychiatric capability and shelter facilities. Other partners can include representatives from the Family Resource Networks, Family Resource Centers, Starting Point programs, the court system, juvenile justice system, county Boards of Education and local schools, local city or county government, the faith based community and non-profit agencies, such as United Way, YMCA, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Boys/Girl Scouts. It is hoped that Community Collaboratives develop the appropriate linkages with the courts, Juvenile Probation Officers, agency providers, DHHR staff and county education systems to meet the purpose of their identified specific service needs and gaps.


In 2014, West Virginia was federally approved by the Administration for Children and Families to begin developing a IV-E demonstration project. This demonstration project, Safe at Home West Virginia, allows the state funding flexibility. Safe at Home West Virginia, scheduled to be implemented in October 2015, will require a business model shift away from out-of-state care, focusing instead on wrapping the services in the community around the child and family. When applied to the child and family, this wrap around model is intended to prevent removal or reduce the length of time a child spends in residential care. Community Collaborative groups will play a key role in identifying these community based services and, if needed, developing services based on the needs of the children and families in their community.


The Community Collaboratives role will align with policy and Safe at Home West Virginia in that they will support and respond to the needs of the community through a System of Care approach. Coordinating Agencies will work, under grants or contracts from the DHHR, to identify the individualized services needed for a child to remain safely in their home, while not increasing repeat maltreatment and delivering results-based, improved outcomes. These agencies will provide the services needed while staying in their scope of practice. For additional services, the Coordinating Agencies will look to other providers in the community, including community-based services, which are available to wrap around the family at various levels of intensity, including crisis response. The best way for Coordinating Agencies to identify these services is through the work and participation of the Community Collaborative members. This can be done by making referrals for the needed service, Memorandum of Understanding with select providers or staffing cases at Collaborative meetings using non-identifying information.


DHHR is offering technical assistance for Community Collaborative development. Technical assistance can include data sharing with the Community Collaboratives on the identified needs and characteristics of the children from their community placed in care. There will be statewide Community Collaborative meetings to provide the Collaboratives with direction and support, as well as foster relationships between providers and the Bureau for Children and Families staff. Leadership and program staff from BCF will also be available to attend the Collaborative meetings in order to clarify goals, assist with planning, provide consultation and facilitate model development.

A collaborative is much like a provider network organized for a specific function, to ensure the safety of the child while preventing the child from being removed from their home or reduce the length of stay in residential care. Due to local community characteristics and considerations, different models of practice and different areas of focus are expected to emerge. However, all models will be required to be consistent with state policy (Medicaid, Child Welfare, Youth Services etc.), follow expectations for Family-Centered practice and promote permanency for all children.


Community Collaborative meetings are expected to be held once a month, with two excused meeting to allow for holidays, vacation or inclement weather, to be determined by the Collaborative group. Meetings can be attended in person or by alternative methods such as video or conference calling.

Resource Development and Capacity Plans are expected to be completed by the Collaborative group and submitted semi-annually (July and January) to the BCF Statewide Coordinator. Collaborative groups will notify the BCF Statewide Coordinator when new Collaborative Chairs are appointed or when contact information for the Collaborative Chair changes.

Communication with the Collaborative groups is an essential part of making recommended changes, getting technical assistance and reporting progress. When a need is identified, the Collaborative group should first seek to meet that need within their community and in partnership with community providers and service agencies. If a service or group of services is not available to meet the identified need, the Collaborative group is expected to forward the request to the Regional Summit to identify any resources in the area that lie outside the Community Collaborative’s scope. If, after collaborating with the Regional Summit, a true gap in services is identified, the Regional Summit will communicate that need to the BCF Statewide Coordinator who will present the need to the Safe at Home West Virginia Advisory Team.

When a Collaborative group communicates a service gap to the Regional Summit, the needed service should be accompanied by a brief summary of the situation and need the service is trying to fill. Likewise, if the gap cannot be filled at the Regional level, the Regional Summit will also be expected to provide this information when sending the request to the Safe at Home Advisory Team. This will communicate a clear understanding of the service gap and allow for consideration of different solutions.

The important thing to remember is to keep the lines of communication open at the local/county level, the Community Collaborative level, the Regional Summit level and the State level. One way to ensure this happens is to share a progress update of the Community Collaboratives with the Regional Summit at each meeting. Another way is for the Community Collaboratives to ask for technical assistance from the State Office staff if their direction is unclear. The goal is to work as a community to identify services or gaps in services that will improve the lives of children and families of West Virginia. This process will be as unique to each Collaborative as each community is unique to the state of West Virginia.