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Community Response is a system of supports and services for children and families to prevent the unnecessary entry into the child welfare system and/or other high end systems of care. Participating communities develop and coordinate an array of local resources to determine eligibility criteria, identify families, administer and share screening and assessments, and provide short term support to qualified families. 

This often requires adjustments in administrative policies and procedures for community organizations and staff. Typically, communities develop a Community Response Team with designated point persons that may be called Connectors or Navigators. Team members are trained in family centered practice, cultural responsiveness, Protective Factors and other core elements. Team resources target families with multiple crises (such as housing, basic life skills, parenting, ) that cannot be resolved by one or two specific services or organization alone and which, unresolved, would likely result in Child Protective Services involvement and out-of-home placements. The team helps families who are willing to work to resolve crises, set goals and access assistance to increase their safety and well being and remain intact. Community Response is relatively short term, lasting for approximately one to six months. 

Early outcomes indicate that Community Response is efficient and effective in keeping families from entering the child welfare system. Communities are tracking follow-up results to determine long term efficacy.