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Paul DiLorenzo

Paul DiLorenzo is a child welfare consultant and a senior fellow for the Child Welfare League of America

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How Good Leaders Keep a Committed Workforce

Most social workers who are thriving will point to their agency leaders as a source of inspiration and motivation.

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In 2024, Let’s Resolve to Respect Caseworkers

Instead of demonizing child welfare caseworkers, we should support them in ways that encourage optimism and good faith, writes Paul DiLorenzo.

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The Danger of Disconnection

Our current child welfare system has a primary design flaw: failing to account for the importance of human connections.

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Mentoring Child Welfare Workers Should Be a Must, Not a Luxury

Mentoring is by no means the single answer to our workforce crisis, but could be the key to keeping one more social worker on the job.


The Questions That Must Be Answered

Any idea to replace child welfare must include what comes next — including a system of innovation, not just ideology.

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Child Welfare Should Go Slow on AI

Paul DiLorenzo warns against investing too much faith, and money, in AI solutions to child welfare's problems

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Child Welfare Workers Can’t Learn from History if It Isn’t Taught

Paul DiLorenzo writes about the lack of effort to educate the modern child welfare workforce about the history preceding them

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When Capacity Doesn’t Match Ability, We Doom Communities to Fail

As it stands, Paul DiLorenzo writes, we are underestimating the potential capacity of many communities and overestimating their current ability to help.

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Finding the Strengths in Partnerships

Child welfare is different than business, but there is something to be learned from the reality of rolling recessions.

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The Three Graces of Child Safety

To better reach families, we should have our own version of The Three Graces: opportunity, competence and empathy. 

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A Child Welfare New Year’s Resolution: Act with Urgency

For child welfare to better serve the behavioral health needs of kids in out-of-home care, we need to enact various solutions.

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Collaborative Efforts Can Better Serve Families

When combined, government and community efforts to support the complex economic and health needs of families are stronger.

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A Road Without End

The next iteration of child welfare work should take a page from the recovery community, writes Paul DiLorenzo.

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The Six Circles of Uncertainty

Paul DiLorenzo describes six circles of uncertainty in the child welfare system that create an orbit of frustration for families

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Beware the Rise of McFamily Support Centers

Rushing the development of family support centers will lead to the creation of satellite offices for child welfare, and ultimately revert to the “good enough" standard of care, writes Paul S. DiLorenzo.

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What One State’s Interview Debate Suggests About the Bigger Child Welfare Discussion

Justice in the child welfare system cannot come at the price of child safety, including interview practices, writes Paul DiLorenzo.

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The Ethics of Working Amid Family Un-Friendly Policies

When government policies hold a group in disfavor, the child welfare community can do more to speak up for families, writes Paul DiLorenzo.

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Social Work Supervisors Are Key to Stable Workforce

Supervision is the heartbeat of a child welfare agency and in many places, it is on life support. It used to be one of the strongest pillars of our profession, but in recent years the supervisory role has found itself looking for a clear purpose or relevance to our goals of improvement and transformation.

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Understanding Their ‘Why,’ and Keeping Ours in Check

Community collaborations in child welfare require an understanding of the values behind an effort, writes Paul DiLorenzo.

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Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Supports Can Save Children

When a community’s is focused on the well-being of its members, everyone takes the safety of children more seriously, writes Paul DiLorenzo.

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Three Conversations Every Child Welfare System Should Have to Start 2022

Paul DiLorenzo describes three conversations that child welfare leaders in every state should be having as 2022 begins.

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Is ‘Feel Good’ Really Such a Bad Thing?

In Jacksonville, Florida, Family Support Services' solid reputation, attention to the detail of building relationships, and its plan for a new Family Resource Center make it likely to be a success, writes Paul DiLorenzo.

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Absolutes Hurt the Conversation on Bettering Child Welfare

Child welfare is complex and professionals who write about the field should focus on substance over blame, writes Paul DiLorenzo.


Needed in Child Welfare Leadership: Chief Trust Officer

Paul DiLorenzo envisions the role of chief trust officer as nonprofits in the child welfare space engage the community more intensely

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Child Advocacy Centers Model Strong Skills and Partnerships for Helping Families Within the Child Welfare System

Child advocacy centers offer a space of shared responsibility and clear mission for child safety and healing.


Do Not Diminish the Importance of Small Beginnings

Paul DiLorenzo laments that fact that tremendous community innovations in child welfare is not a focal point of efforts to reform the system

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To Support Families, We Must Look Beyond Regimented Solutions

Family support programs go beyond the practice of serving one family at a time. There are multiple moving parts. Our effectiveness lies in the broader engagement of our neighbors. The model’s elegance is in collective action and connectivity of child, family and community.

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For Child Welfare Systems, One Simple Key to Community Engagement: Ask, Then Listen

As a part of their efforts to engage families, many child welfare agencies sponsor community events. These happenings are designed to build social capital, to provide an opportunity for residents and stakeholders to meet each other and to create a network of supportive relationships. 


Blaming the Workforce is Easy and Useless. Bettering It Is Hard and Transformative.

Early in my career, a supervisor told me that the dirty little secret in child welfare was that the system tends to reward those who persevere in their jobs by pushing them further away from kids and families.

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Moving Child Welfare from A Reaction to A Response

One benefit of an extended career in child welfare settings is that you begin to understand the concept of capacity. I’m not offering this as sage advice or cynical wisdom, nor as a pup social worker who is naïve and imagines that every family and every system can be set on the right track. 

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Compromise Is Good, Except When It Comes to Ethics

Many years ago, I served in Pennsylvania state government and among my responsibilities was the development and implementation of family resource centers (FRCs), which are community-based family support programs that provide easily accessible services in a culturally relevant manner.

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A Return to The ‘Use of Self’

Child welfare consultant Paul DiLorenzo
In the world of family support and prevention programming, we are hearing a great deal about the inclusion of people with lived experiences. It has appeared on our radar screens as if it is a new concept or an innovation unique to this moment.

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Building A Respectful Approach to Child Safety

In child welfare we are prone to distraction. Through the decades we’ve become excited by multiple trends and legislation addressing safety, family preservation and permanency, assuming they would resolve the complexities of our work with families.

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A Community Meets to Rethink Child Welfare Together

In “The Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the idea that in America, our historical class divisions always influence, linger and manipulate the present. He wrote in the novel’s last paragraph: Gatsby believed in the green light … that year by year recedes before us.

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Biden Child Welfare: A Day One Culture for the Next Four Years

As we consider a new federal child welfare team, we should recognize the exceptional work of the current Children’s Bureau, especially its leaders Jerry Milner and David Kelly. They advanced smart, progressive and commonsense policy and practice designs for child welfare agencies focused on the development of community-based family support efforts.

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Good Fortune Is Not a Solid Foundation for Child Welfare Services

Paul DiLorenzo, interim executive director of the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance.
Serendipity is the phenomenon of discovering something valuable that is unexpected, like a forgotten $10 bill in your jacket pocket, or finding the love of your life through a chance meeting. 

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Moving Away from Top-Down Leadership in Child Welfare

Paul DiLorenzo, interim executive director of the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance.
The trust level between child welfare leaders and local partners will be a key factor in predicting success for any neighborhood-based family support efforts emerging from a Family First Act planning process.

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Key to Family First Act Success: Building Community Trust

Paul DiLorenzo
Several years ago, I attended a Jesuit Leadership institute. The trainer shared a quote that I found relevant to my work at Casey Family Programs with public child welfare agencies and community-based primary prevention programs.



Child Welfare and The Fight Against Despair

Classic experiments in the 1970’s demonstrated that it’s not so much adverse events that result in deleterious consequences, but rather a lack of perceived control over those events. Subjects in these experiments who learned that they could not influence their challenging situations eventually gave up trying.