Prevention and Family Support

Calaveras County is committed to the reformation of the child welfare system by shifting the mindset from a child protection and foster care system to a child and family well-being system. This vision involves an integrated system of care network supported by a framework of prevention that includes primary, secondary, and tertiary strategies grounded in the principles of fairness and equity. 

Comprehensive Prevention Plan

Calaveras County is committed to keeping children and families together and reducing the need for foster care by leveraging resources to expand the availability of prevention services. Through data analysis, the County determined the five challenges that reflect major service gaps and serve as primary drivers of children’s welfare system-involvement for children and families. Phase one prioritizes caregiver substance abuse, especially when co-occurring with domestic violence, children experiencing acute behavioral health challenges, developing and expanding services that can be fiscally and programmatically sustained, expanding access to support programs for families through community-based pathways, and expanding access to support programs for families in rural and isolated communities through virtual and in-home service delivery. Calaveras County also intends to explore the expansion of its existing Evidence Based Practices in phase one, which include: Family Check-Up, Healthy Families America, Homebuilders, Motivational Interview (cross-cutting and substance abuse), Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, and Parents as Teachers.  

Calaveras Care Team

The Calaveras Care Team (CCT) meets monthly, and is designed to serve children with complex challenges such as personal, family, educational or social.  Our expertise is where the solution is beyond the scope of a single agency and we come together to find a solution. Referrals may come from schools, partner agencies, the community, or self-referred. Added.

The CCT is a countywide multidisciplinary team including: Behavioral Health, Child Welfare, Public Health, and First 5, Probation, Calaveras COE Special Education, The Resource Connection, and Calaveras County School Districts. These members have the ability to discuss and authorize supports for referred families following confidentiality guidelines. Added.

To refer a child or family to the CCT, please complete a referral form here, or email 

Mandated Reporting to Community Supporting

As part of creating a Child and Family Wellbeing system, Child Welfare is recognizing the need for a paradigm shift from Mandated Reporting to Community Supporting. This shift in thinking, specifically with matters of neglect, is helpful to reduce the threat, fear or mistrust families may feel when seeking help from Mandated Reporters. 
This proposed paradigm shift requires revising the overall framing of our societal response. When there is concern that a child’s environmental and living conditions may have a negative impact on their health and wellbeing, how might we move from report to support? In the current frame of mandating reporting, the threshold for making a report to child welfare is knowing or reasonably suspecting that a child has been a victim of abuse or neglect. Failure to report even “reasonable suspicion” is a misdemeanor. This low threshold, particularly when linked to the overly broad and often poverty-linked category of neglect, casts an extremely wide net for mandated reporting, even when there is little question of risk for a child’s safety. In a reframing in which we prioritize the best outcomes for a child, we first ask whether there is truly a substantial risk of harm to the child, and if not, we turn to questions about supporting the child within their caregiving system to address the mandated reporter’s concerns about the child’s environment or living conditions. When we look at the caregiving system as a whole, the key assessment and decision-making questions are:

  • “Does this family have the resources to provide the care and protection they want to provide?”
  • “What strengths exist within this caregiving system?”
  • “What are this family’s priorities for their child, and how can we support them in a culturally appropriate and humble way?” 

This frame provides a different starting place than the historically fear-based approach, while leaving in place the possibility of referral to CWS in the case of an imminent threat to the child’s health and well-being.