Build the Foundation


Strategic Planning

Indiana Department of Child Services | Bringing Together State Partners To Address Child Abuse

Client Needs

The Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) is committed to providing all children will safe, healthy and supportive families and communities. As of 2017, Indiana had the second highest rate of child maltreatment in the nation. While the state saw a decrease in 2018 and 2019, Indiana still had one of the highest rates of child maltreatment in the country.

Nationally, the child welfare landscape is experiencing a shift, with the introduction and implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act. This shift includes a focus on supporting families through additional prevention services and expanding funding opportunities.

This project began in 2018, when the Child Abuse Prevention Sub-Committee of the Indiana Commission on Improving the Status of Children identified the possible need for a statewide child abuse prevention framework. Based on its review, the Sub-Committee made a recommendation to the Commission that a framework be developed for Indiana. In May 2019, the Commission voted to approve the recommendation.

DCS agreed to fund the development of the framework and this accompanying toolkit. DCS contracted with Transform Consulting Group to provide project management and research support for the development of the strategic framework for the prevention of child abuse and an accompanying toolkit for implementation. To accomplish the state’s goals, Transform Consulting Group developed strategic partnerships to ensure broad stakeholder engagement during the planning process, especially for communities of color. We partnered with The Villages of Indiana and the Indiana Minority Health Coalition.

Our Solution

Transform Consulting Group kicked off the project in April 2020. We first worked to convene a statewide advisory committee to provide strategic input in the planning and creation of this framework and toolkit. The advisory committee represented multiple state agencies, prevention and advocacy leaders, philanthropic funders, and community partners from supporting sectors. 

In addition to the feedback provided by this advisory team, Transform Consulting Group solicited input from parents and community organizations in nine pilot counties. We considered the following factors when selecting the pilot counties: 

  • Geographic distribution
  • Rural and urban representation 
  • Demographic diversity 
  • Child maltreatment rate 
  • The existence of related initiatives

Transform Consulting Group collected feedback from nearly 2,000 parents. We also gathered feedback from 124 community organizations via partner survey.

In addition to the feedback collected, we pulled state and national data on child maltreatment. We assessed the prevention programs and models being implemented across the state both with public and private funding. We pulled national data and research on promising practices to prevent child abuse and maltreatment. We reviewed several existing resources and statewide plans, including the Child Maltreatment Prevention: A Planning Framework for Action, developed by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, and statewide frameworks created by Colorado and South Carolina.

This prevention framework provides a road map for the state of Indiana and local communities to prevent maltreatment while promoting family and child well-being and resilience. This toolkit provides communities with the information and tools needed to implement the framework at the local level. This toolkit can be used by any organization and/or group that would like to align and strengthen prevention efforts in their community.


  • Facilitated conversations with partners regarding values, outcomes, data sources and indicators, and resources
  • Provided backbone support for statewide stakeholder group
  • Develop surveys and focus group questions to gather feedback from parents and caregivers (we surveyed nearly 2,000 parents across the state)
  • Research other communities and state initiatives to inspire the framework
  • Facilitate a planning retreat with state and local partners
  • Create strategic framework and toolkit 
  • Develop a communication plan to disseminate the framework and toolkit statewide

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